I’ll spare you the trite clichés of how this year is truly FLYING and simply say that I’m shocked (but also somewhat relieved) that it is now May. Our family turbo charge through the winter and early spring months and have finally pressed pause on some of our regular commitments now that summer is nearly here. We are still working on establishing our end-of-school-year/early-summer rhythms but feeling grateful for a little more margin (even if it is accompanied by a lot more household chaos). Standing here in the tail end of spring, gaze fixed towards summer, I’m pausing today to reflect on our whirlwind of an April.
// READING LATELY //
The best book I read this month—the best book I’ve read in many, MANY months—was this title from one of my favorite authors. I can’t stop thinking about and recommending it! This classic mystery was another five-star read, as was this reread that came back to me at just the right time and paired well with my word-themed read for April/May. I found this father/son story so endearing, but was a little disturbed by this mother/daughter one. Reviews of each of these titles are coming soon!
I did my very first Buddy Read on StoryGraph this month. My friend Cara introduced me to this StoryGraph feature, and I loved reading Lincoln Highway together using the app to share our comments. The interface for the buddy read is a little unwieldy, but the buddy reading itself was a delight and truly enhanced my enjoyment and appreciation for the book. Cara and I are looking forward to starting up another buddy read soon, it’s such a great way to make my favorite solo activity a more social one.
My friend Alana recently mentioned that the only news she consumes is through The Pour Over. I was intrigued and immediately subscribed myself! This Christian newsletter comes to my inbox three times each week and contains a few of the leading stories of the day, alongside commentary that encourages readers to view the headline through a Biblical lens. The newsletter is a quick read but covers a lot of ground in ways that are engaging and refreshingly level-headed. I’ve never consumed news in a faith-based format like this and I really appreciate the incorporation of Scripture that shifts my focus away from dire news and toward the hope of Christ. The newsletter doesn’t sugarcoat the news but is free of harmful rhetoric and partisanship. I especially love their approach to commentary as outlined here—I believe they are modeling how all Christians should approach the news we consume and the commentary we choose to offer.
// LOVING LATELY //
I’m typing this up from my brand new MacBook Air! My last computer was more than ten years old so we weren’t too surprised when it simply wouldn’t start one day. Thankfully we had budgeted for a new laptop; sadly for Luke, the plan had been for us to replace his first, but his will have to wait a little longer. In the meantime I am loving my new tool that is lighter, faster, and far more user friendly than my last MacBook. Favorite feature is the touch ID built into the keyboard—talk about a time saver!
I used the computer upgrade as an opportunity to upgrade my security as well and, after years of prompting from Luke, finally downloaded 1Password onto my computer and phone. The Password Manager is easy to use and though it will take me some time to get all of my passwords transferred over, after the initial legwork is done it is MUCH easier (not to mention infinitely more secure) than having to remember and type in passwords for my endless accounts. The app generates strong passwords, keeps them stored in one spot, and makes it easy to log into sites with a simple click. I wish I had listened to Luke and downloaded this years ago!
It happened to be a gadget-heavy month for us as we also used some Christmas money to purchase a new keyboard for our family. Luke and I both did piano lessons when we were younger and have known we wanted our kids to take lessons as well. Getting Luke’s parents’ piano moved to our house was presenting too many challenges so we took the “easy” way out and got a keyboard. (It helped that Charleston had been pushing hard for this option.) We will eventually enroll him in private lessons but for now he is practicing every day with this app. I’m amazed by the progress he has made in just a couple of weeks. I’m hoping to get back into playing myself, my skills are VERY rusty but I’m ready to bring some musical creativity back into my daily rhythms.
// MONTHLY KID-ISMS //
The twins have been having the silliest conversations with each other lately, overheard from the back of the car or over the Nest camera when they’re going down for a nap. The communications are priceless, but hard to document. I did jot down a couple cute things from the twins this month, as well as plenty from my big boy:.
+ Me: “Sully, how’s your heart doing?” Sully, looking around: “I don’t know. I can’t find it.”
+ First thing every Thursday morning (because Luke and I are out Wednesday nights): “I missed you last night! How was co-moo-ty group?”
+ As a cloud passed over the sun on a bright day: “Look, it’s not bright any more. Thank you God! Thank you for making that for me!”
+ “I have so many toys, I’m thinking of asking Santa for a storage unit.”
+ “Mom, we can’t get rid of these toys because we got them at an egg hunt, and egg hunts celebrate Jesus, so basically they remind us of Jesus.”
+ “I’m not a very good talker. I think I’m made for action.”
+ “Isn’t it amazing how I was born right after electricity was invented?” Me: “Well, not right after it was invented. It was around for a while before you came along.” Charleston: “Well, at least I was born right after all the important parts . . . like smart phones.”
+ “I think my apology system in my body is growing.”
+ While sorting laundry: “Look at Daddy’s underwear. I mean, they’re HUGE! They really have to hold a lot.”
// HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS //
Sully had his first hair cut this month! I actually liked his long curls, but he hates having his hair combed and the back of his head was constantly matted, so it was time to do some snipping. We made the trip to the haircut spot a family affair, and Kali and Charleston had more fun than their brother who was VERY cautious during the cutting process: he didn’t cry, but crouched and cowered the whole time. Overall, though, it was a positive experience. And now he looks so grown up!
Another fun milestone for the twins this month was their first big outings apart from each other. Kali and Sully are very close and very attached to one another, which generally is a good thing, but we’ve wanted to start giving them opportunities to be apart. So on a Saturday morning, I took Kali out for donuts and some shopping while Luke took the boys on an adventure of their own. Some tears were shed by both twins, but they each recovered and enjoyed their solo dates. Kali seemed to really enjoy having Mama to herself for a couple of hours (and I was reminded of how easy it is to get out with just one kiddo!). We have since had our second date (Sully went out to dinner with Luke this time) and we’re looking forward to making these one-on-one dates with the twins a regular routine.
Our April was chock full of Easter events, starting with the city egg hunt in Cedar Park. This was the twins’ first public egg hunt and I think they found it a little overwhelming. (I can’t say I blame them, there were litterally thousands of people at the event—I was pretty overwhelmed too!) Sully caught on pretty quickly to gathering the eggs, but it took Kali a while to move beyond observing the eggs to actually picking them up. Charleston, on the other hand, knew just what to do and after some initial hesitation had no problem holding his own in the big kids’ hunt.
Every day during Holy Week we opened one of our Easter nesting eggs and read from this Advent-style book. It’s been a favorite Easter tradition for years now, and this year Charleston was in charge of helping the twins open the eggs and reading the daily devotions. I feel like we’ve reached a new level with our family in these traditions, with the twins really starting to “get it” and Charleston helping introduce them to traditions he’s enjoyed since he was their age. This is fun with every tradition, but especially the more sacred ones as I can see him helping nurture his siblings’ budding faith while working it out for himself, too.
We took the kids to Bass Pro for Easter Bunny pictures with their cousins. All of our kiddos were so excited to see the Bunny and eager to give him high-fives and grab a picture. Charleston had plenty of questions about the legitimacy of this Easter Bunny but even he enjoyed the visit and helping get the younger kids enthusiastic about the experience.
On Easter weekend we did a virtual egg hunt with my parents, who hid eggs around their home and had Charleston “find them” through a FaceTime search. It was such a special activity and a fun way to celebrate the holiday together despite the physical distance between us. Easter weekend also found us dying Easter eggs—quite a challenge with an eager 7-year-old and 2-year-olds who insisted on “helping.” We got those eggs colored in record time and even managed to avoid any massive messes.
We attended Easter services on Saturday evening (our church asked members to come Saturday, leaving space for visitors on Sunday). I served in the Kindergarten class one hour and was excited to have a record number of kids, including TONS of first-time guests. The service was lovely and afterwards we had a fun little festival complete with a bounce house, food trucks, lawn games, and even unicorns!
I know every family has different Easter Bunny traditions; ours involves setting out carrots on the night before Easter, along with baskets filled with empty eggs for the Easter Bunny to stuff and hide during the night. This year we designated certain colored eggs for each kid so they would know which ones they were looking for and each child would collect the same number. (This also matters because Charleston got candy in his eggs while the twins got stickers, and Charlie’s eggs needed to be a lot harder to find.) Easter morning started early but was lots of fun, with the kids waking up to filled Easter baskets then searching the house for their eggs. Charleston had left a note for the Easter Bunny asking for a scavenger hunt, so Mr. Bunny left a list of four clues for finding four hidden ring pops. The search was a challenge, but Charleston LOVED it and found all four rings after doing some serious hunting.
After our Easter morning festivities we headed over to Luke’s parents’ house for lunch and a family egg hunt in their large yard. My mother-in-law filled more than one hundred confetti eggs (many thanks to their chickens for producing in time for Easter!) and the kids had an absolute blast hunting eggs and chasing one another down for some confetti smashing. It’s hard to believe that last year Sully wasn’t even walking yet at Easter; this year we had four rambunctious kiddos racing around the yard!
How are you doing during these final weeks of spring. Any big summer plans you’re looking forward to? I’d love to hear about them!