Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are enjoying this unofficial first day of summer by the pool, or at the beach, or in some other summery location. We are spending our morning inside, unpacking the mountains of boxes that are lining the walls of our new house. (As you will read below, this month has been dominated by our family’s big move.) This afternoon, Luke and Charleston are headed to a barbecue at my in-laws’ house while I get some much-needed writing time in. Not exactly the quintessential Memorial Day, but still all good things.
I realize the month isn’t quite over yet, but May has already been full enough to warrant a complete (early) review. In addition to our move, there’s been a sprinkling of other fun happenings and discoveries as well that I’m eager to share. Ready? Set? Let’s recap!
// READING LATELY //
I’ve been much more into fiction than nonfiction lately, and read a number of strong novels from some new-to-me authors this month. My favorite was this thriller, which has great atmosphere, compelling characters, and a unique literary component. I was also impressed with this nuanced exploration of complex family dynamics, and I enjoyed this unique spin on one of my favorite stories. Though beautifully written, this book didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, and I was disappointed that I didn’t love this book from an author I’ve been meaning to read for some time.
As for nonfiction, I learned SO MUCH from this book about one of my favorite subjects. This book has given me some great tools to apply in my parenting, and this collection of essays was light, fun, and insightful.
As always, full reviews to come over the next few weeks!
// LISTENING LATELY //
Joy Williams’ Front Porch: I’m a HUGE Joy Williams fan and was thrilled to hear about her latest release. Front Porch is a departure from Venus (one of my Top Five favorite albums ever), and though I missed the powerful lyrics and mystical vibe of that album, I’m really enjoying Front Porch, in which Williams returns to the comfortable, folkish sound of her Civil Wars years. The songs are tender and down-to-earth, mellow with a touch of longing. The lyrics, which range from melancholic to hopeful, feel authentic and heart-felt. This album sounds like fall music to me, but that won’t keep me from listening through the summer months too!
Amanda Lindsey Cook’s House on a Hill: I was introduced to Amanda Lindsey Cook in a recent episode of That Sounds Fun, and I’ve been enjoying her music ever since. Cook’s voice is lovely—soothing with a slight edge—and her lyrics are soulful and poignant, exploring difficult emotions but always pointing back to Christ. I was impressed with Cook’s insight, wisdom, and maturity in her interview, and this same thoughtfulness is evident in her music. I appreciate that this album has a worshipful vibe, but sounds different from so much of today’s popular Christian music.
// LATEST CHARLIE-ISMS //
It’s been a momentous month for Charleston—leaving the first home he remembers, and settling into a new house. He’s done remarkably well with the transition, and though he was very sad to say goodbye to our old house, he’s loving the excitement of a new home and all of its potential. He’s also been keeping up with his string of funny quips.
+ “Daddy, the batteries in the screen protector are dying.” (Screen protector is his term for a smoke detector, which he refuses to call by any other name.)
+ “The world needs to make a badge for me that says I’m smart. Then I will be the world’s friend!”
+ “Do we own our cars? Can we take them with us to our new house? Because I like our cars.” (He was very confused by what was and was not coming with us to our new house.)
+ “Won’t it be great to give the picker-uppers [trick-or-treaters] who come to our house on Halloween a craft with their candy? Then they can see what a great artist I am!” (He’s been stocking up on his paper crafts to give away.)
+ When he felt I was dawdling: “Hurry up, Mom, we’re destroying our time!”
+ We’ve been talking a lot about where we see God show up in our lives each day, and this one melted me: “You know where I saw God today? In your beautiful face.”
+ Pointing to the backs of his knees: “Mom, is this our leg pits? How come they don’t get smelly?”
+ When the commercials came on the television at my in-laws’ house: “I need you to speed up through the credits!” (We don’t have television at our house, so his only experience with television/movie breaks is during movie credits.)
+ “It’s a good thing crying doesn’t make me feel stuffy. Because I cry a LOT.”
+ On seeing a woman show up by herself at the pool: “Why’s that lady swimming by herself? Swimming is just for kids!”
// MONTHLY PUP-DATE //
Arlo is thriving in our new house. In our previous home, we mostly kept him confined to the kitchen and sometimes the living room, but since our new house is one story and has a very open floor plan, we are allowing him to roam everywhere but the bedrooms, and he is loving the freedom. He is also thrilled with our huge yard. And WE are thrilled with his new summery haircut! He looks so handsome, and it’s amazing how much the trim has cut down on shedding.
// HAPPENINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS //
We closed on our house on May 2! We are now officially homeowners!!! Since we had our rental through the end of May, we had planned on taking the move slowly, and for the first couple of weeks, we focused on buying and assembling the extra furniture and storage we would need for the new house so that we wouldn’t have to worry about it at the same time we were bringing in all of our possessions.
We didn’t pack a single box until May 14, but once we got moving we were ready to be DONE, and we were completely out of the old house and into the new one within the week. Though it felt good to get it done quickly, it was a bittersweet goodbye. We LOVED that house: not only was the house itself gorgeous, with a fantastic location, amazing storage, and phenomenal lighting, but it held our hearts for many sentimental reasons—it was the first actual house Luke and I lived in together, our first Texas home, the site of Charleston’s first steps and his first words, and the place we brought Arlo home for the first time. We made so many wonderful memories there, and it was hard to say goodbye.
But now that the transition has been made, we are embracing our new home and our new lives here. This past week has been consumed with unpacking boxes and doing our best to get settled in. There is still a lot to do, but we’re making progress, and at this point I have at least located—and mostly unpacked—the essentials. It’s always an adjustment moving into a new space, trying to figure out where to put things and how to make different rooms and closets and spaces work best for our needs. Luke’s been amazing about helping me check items off my to-do list, and Charleston has had a lot of fun helping out.
This house is quite a bit different from our last one, so I’m trying to be intentional with my unpacking and furniture and decor placement instead of rushing to get it all done; I’d rather be happy with how things are, and not immediately feel the need to redo anything. So far, I am in love with my kitchen, the one room that is DONE done. I was able to keep all of my appliances (other than my toaster oven) off of my countertops, something that I’ve always dreamed of!
The move wasn’t the only thing to happen with our family this month. Mother’s Day felt so special this year, with my belly full of babies and my heart full of love. After church on Sunday morning, the boys gave me my gifts: a beautiful card that they’d made, and a “MOM” necklace with Charleston’s birthstone on it. We’ll add the twins’ charms once we know for sure what their birth stone will be.
After presents, we FaceTimed with my grandmother (my own mom had to work that day), then headed to Luke’s parents’ house for a day of playing and barbecue with his mom and dad, my sister-in-law, and her little family. My father-in-law installed a new swing for Charleston and he played on it most of the afternoon; despite lots and LOTS of spinning, he remarkably did not get sick!
Of course, our most exciting highlight of the month was learning that we are going to be parents to another baby boy and a baby girl! I am still slightly shocked and in complete awe and gratitude over this news. We had learned the babies’ genders a few days before Mother’s Day and used the holiday as an opportunity to share the news with our families—with my parents on a FaceTime call the day before Mother’s Day, and my in-laws on Mother’s Day itself. We didn’t have time to get a special “reveal” gift in the mail to my mom, but we announced the news to my in-laws by gifting my mother-in-law two sets of soap—one pink and one blue; only after she’d opened them did we tell her they were from the twins. It took her a minute to pick up on the hint. It’s so fun to have our news out in the world, and have everyone joining us in celebrating our little pink and blue miracles. (The below picture is now a couple of weeks old. Amazingly, this belly is about twice the size now!)
One more fun highlight of the month: I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Carol over at Reading Ladies Book Club. I was so honored to be nominated! I blog for many reasons, none of them notoriety, but it is always nice to have one’s efforts recognized, especially by another blogger I admire. Carol’s blog is one of the few personal blogs I read, and it has earned its place in my blog feed. I appreciate Carol’s thoughtful, insightful book reviews as well as her encouraging presence on the internet and social media. Thanks so much for the honor, Carol!
What a month it’s been! And the next few months are promising to be just as busy. With that in mind, I’ve decided to switch my posting schedule to Monday/Thursday (with quotes continuing to post on Saturdays), beginning next week. I’m hoping to return to my usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule later in the summer, but right now I need to carve out some extra time for nesting and other family obligations.
What has been the highlight of your May? I’d love to hear about it!