Mentally, I’m still somewhere back in May or maybe June, and the sweltering heat has me convinced we’re still in the throes of summer. But the calendar says we are two days into September, so I suppose it’s time for a monthly recap. Here’s a look at some of what my family and I were up to this August.
// READING LATELY //
My reading slowed a bit this month but my slightly-shorter book list contained a number of standouts. I loved the unique structure of this novel and the suspense of this one. This memoir was one of the most courageous books I’ve read and I cannot stop thinking about it. And this book has me thinking about our world—particularly present circumstances—in a whole new way. As always, I’ll be sharing reviews of each of these titles in the coming weeks.
// WATCHING LATELY //
I’ve wanted to see The Greatest Showman since back when it was in theaters, and am not quite sure why we hadn’t watched it yet, but we jumped at the chance to view it for free when it came to Disney Plus. I had high expectations going in, and the movie blew those out of the water! It was everything I want in a movie: beautiful costumes, phenomenal videography, visually appealing scenery, impeccable acting, a heartwarming story, great choreography, and an awesome musical score. I thought all of the acting was fantastic, and Hugh Jackman’s performance was particularly impressive. We watched this movie with Charleston and he told me that he enjoyed all the but “the conversation parts.” I really appreciated the positive messages of inclusivity, perseverance, and integrity, and was able to discuss these with Charleston after watching the movie.
My Rating: 5 Stars!
// LOVING LATELY //
It’s a hard time for churches, but I have been SO PROUD of how well our own church is handling current circumstances. Since we still aren’t meeting in person on Sundays, our teaching team has enhanced their online presence with a series of YouTube videos on a variety of relevant subjects; Sunday chats that are more online-friendly than a traditional service; and weekly podcasts that supplement each Sunday’s message. In addition to the usual small groups, our church is also offering a variety of in-person and online meetups based on specific interests (I joined a women’s book club!), as well as the usual small groups (it’s been great to meet with our own small group in person again).
The children’s ministries have been particularly appreciated. We did a drive-thru Kindergarten promotion for Charleston and have been taking advantage of the weekly discussion and activity guides geared specifically to Charleston’s age group. He’s really enjoyed watching the kids’ messages each Sunday and participating in a weekly Zoom meeting with his Sunday School teacher and classmates. I love that Northpoint is finding ways to meet the needs of the current church body while also reaching out to new believers in such creative ways.
// MONTHLY CHARLIE-ISMS //
We officially started our Kindergarten homeschool last week and it is going even better than I imagined! I have had a lot of fun putting together lesson plans, and I did my best to make the first week feel special and different from what we’d been doing for preschool. Of course we’ve had our challenges this week, with Charleston and I both getting frustrated at times, but for the most part we are enjoying our curriculum and the dedicated time we are spending together each day. My favorite part of the school day is the very beginning: as soon as the twins go down for their first nap, we start off the day with about fifteen minutes outside—either walking around the block or playing in the yard—to get some fresh air, talk about our plans for the day, and pray. It gets us into a good head space and sets the tone for the rest of our morning. And if I play my cards right, Charleston gifts me with one of his adorable quips. Here’s a sampling of some of his best one-liners from the month.
+ “The church videos are some of my favorite things to watch on tv. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love God?!”
+ “That’s one of the things God made me for. . . the smarts.”
+ “I came up with a plan to not get the sickness. You know how the sickness doesn’t seem to be spreading to our neighborhood well? So all’s we gotta do is stay close to our neighborhood and we won’t get the sickness!”
+ “Sometimes I get a kind of a hangnail thing on my mouth.” (Referring to his chapped lips.)
+ When he heard me talking to Sully and refer to him as “Bud,” he said sadly, “But I thought that’s what you called ME?” (Which is why I usually call Sully “Bear”!)
+ About a song I made up to help him learn his Bible verse: “Mom, thank you for making the most loveliest song I’ve ever sung. I could just relax in a hammock listening to it all day. Maybe with a sandwich and some cheese.”
+ When I told him the kit in his backpack was called a first aid kit: “How do you know it’s our very first one?”
+ Trying to convince me to take up basketball: “Come on, you’re tall so you don’t even need to jump to get the ball in the basket.” (For the record, I’m 5’5”.)
+ Holding up a peach crayon: “Mom, this crayon is skin color, right?” Me: “It’s your skin color, but not everybody has that skin color.” Charleston: “But everyone in our family has this skin color. Oh wait. Maxwell! He is in the family and his skin is different.” (Maxwell is a friend of his from the gym who is apparently now in our family. ?)
+ “How do we know God is a good god and not a bad god who is just trying to trick us?”
+ Joining Luke and me when we were laughing over an inside joke at the dinner table: “I laugh even though I don’t get it because I just know it’s funny.”
+ “If you want to see real magic you trust in God. And BAM, He’ll do what you want.” (I promise I haven’t been *trying* to teach him prosperity Gospel!)
+ When I said something was too hard for me. “You don’t have to handle it yourself, just ask God and he’ll handle it for you.”
// HAPPENINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS //
Early in August my parents flew from their home in California to the Corvette museum in Kentucky to pick up their newest toy (a Corvette Stingray), then road-tripped back to California, stopping in Texas for a few days to spend time with us. We all loved my dad’s new car (and Charleston loves the matching model they got him!).
My parents’ last visit was in early March, and all three of my kids had changed so much in the intervening months, so it was fun for everyone to get reacquainted and spend some quality time together. We didn’t do too much during their visit, since it’s hard to get out with the twins plus a lot is still closed due to COVID. Our days were spent playing board games, doing family read-alouds, and chasing the twins up and down the hallways. We did get out more than I have in months, though: we went to two splash pads, the twins got to go on their first train ride (Sully wasn’t a fan, Kali was unfazed), and we spent some time at our favorite local coffee shop. What their visit lacked in adventure it more than made up for in heart, and we are already counting down the days until their next visit (in just a few weeks!).
That’s it for August, and for this very odd summer we just had. Pumpkin spice and fall colors, here we come!