Like my kindred spirit Anne, I am so happy to live in a world where there are Octobers. Sadly, this October went by far too quickly, but for mostly good reasons. We had such a busy but memorable month! Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
// READING LATELY //
I read some pretty great books this month, as well as some that were disappointments. I didn’t really care for either of the two read-alouds (this and this) recommended by our homeschool curriculum for the month (thankfully Charleston did like them). But I LOVED this recent release as well as this back-list title from a best-selling author. My favorite book of the month was this exploration of spiritual formation and warfare in today’s post-Christian culture; I read it alongside this book, and they made an excelling pairing. As always, I will be sharing full reviews of each of these books in the coming weeks.
// WATCHING LATELY //
Ted Lasso was the show we all needed at the end of 2020: the story of an upbeat American football coach who takes on the job as head coach of a British soccer team is uplifting, funny, and covers a range of relevant topics from friendship and romance and sports as a metaphor for life, to psychological challenges and power dynamics and cultural misunderstandings and the burden of expectation. It’s a show about real people doing their best and messing up, but never fully giving up, and it is filled with lessons that will reach into the hearts of the most hardened TV viewer.
I was ecstatic for this second season. Luke and I are always way behind when it comes to movies and shows, so it was exciting to be watching this in real time (we literally watched each new episode the night it released!) and to be in the know when it came up in conversations with friends. We did not love this season quite as much as the first. [Spoilers Ahead!] The good episodes were fantastic, and I loved a few of the storylines (especially Ted’s struggle with panic attacks [so relatable and realistic!] and the romance between Rebecca and Sam—love them together!), but some of the episodes were duds, and I hated the trajectory of a few of the characters (Nathan, how could you?!). There seemed to be more profanity and sexual innuendo in this season, which was disappointing, and though I appreciated the development of the side characters and the chance to see many of their pain points, this season is a little darker and a little harder, and I missed the full-blown optimism of Season 1. Still, it was an enjoyable watch and I can’t wait to find out what happens in Season 3.
Are you caught up on Ted Lasso? If so, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Any predictions for what’s ahead? Anyone else want to see Ted and Sharon get together, and feel the end is in sight for Keely and Roy? How do you feel about the Sam/Rebekah pairing? Who are your favorite characters? (I love Ted, of course, but I also have very soft spots for Sam, Keeley, and Rebecca.)
If you have not yet treated yourself to a Ted Lasso binge, I’d highly recommend it. (Just make sure the kids are out of earshot, because the language really is pretty atrocious.)
My Rating: 4 Stars.
// LISTENING LATELY //
I positively inhaled every word of John Mark Comer’s latest book and was left wanting even more. Thankfully, more was available in the form of the Live No Lies Podcast, in which Comer interviews individuals quoted within the book. Each episode explores a different aspect of the intersection between spiritual formation and our post-Christian culture. Topics of discussion include identity politics, sexuality and gender, sacramentality, and church practices. I listened to every episode twice, jotted down quite a few notes, and have found myself bringing the ideas into countless conversations over the past month. You do not have to have read the book to benefit from the podcast (or vice versa) but they pair wonderfully. I am so thankful for John Mark Comer’s leadership in this area of spiritual formation and his level-headed, Christ-centered views and discussion of culture, politics, and the modern church.
// TWIN CORNER //
It happened: Kali and Sully officially entered “Terrible Two” territory. This wasn’t something we had to navigate with Charleston (two with him was great; three on the other hand . . . ) so it caught me off guard when the tantrums and defiance showed up seemingly overnight just after their birthday. This month with them has had its challenges, but also many delightful moments. Kali and Sully have gotten so silly, joking and laughing and teasing and playing around with each other and everyone around them—our playtime just keeps getting more fun. I’ve loved watching their language explode as they both are talking in sentences (using words to express feelings, make requests, or recount an experience) and parroting almost everything we say.
Evenings these days are my favorite: they go down a little after 7, and after snuggles, stories, and nursing, we play “crib monster” which involves me chasing Kali and Sully around the room and flying them into their crib. They lie right down on their pillows, cuddle up with each other and their baby dolls, request a bedtime photo (of course I’m always happy to oblige!), then fall asleep listening to the Daniel Tiger soundtrack. It’s such a simple routine but it is just so precious on nearly every level.
We finally got around to their 2-year well check (three weeks after their birthday due to SEVERAL reschedulings) and the doctor was pleased with their growth—they’re actually busting out of their previous growth curves. Kali was 24 pounds 4 ounces (19%) and 32 inches (14%) and Sully was 22 pounds 6 ounces (2%) and 32.5 inches (13%). Most importantly, they are healthy as can be and meeting all of their milestones. What a tremendous blessing, and not one I take lightly.
// MONTHLY CHARLIE-ISMS //
Charleston’s incredible and beautiful highlight this month was that he was baptized! They had been promoting an upcoming Baptism Bash at our church, and Charleston mentioned several times that it was something he wanted to do. Luke and I put off signing him up because we weren’t sure he was ready, but when he continued to press us, we agreed to pursue the decision with him. He had already welcomed Christ into his heart last summer so this did seem to be the next logical step, and he seemed to understand it (as much as one can understand such spiritual things) and was confident in his decision. He went through the process of being interviewed by the youth pastor and I helped him write out his personal testimony.
The baptism was held in the backyard of some members from our church, where dozens of friends and family members gathered to watch nine elementary schoolers publicly profess their faith in Christ and place their trust Him for the forgiveness of their sins. When it was Charleston’s turn, he confidently held the microphone and read his testimony (which involved the story of how he welcomed Jesus into his heart after hearing a character become a Christian on an episode of Adventures in Odyssey!). He chose Luke to baptize him, and my heart exploded with love and gratitude as I watched the two of them enter the pool and share the beautiful moment of Charleston’s public profession of faith. It is a parenting moment I will treasure forever, and one that I hope Charleston will remember fondly as he moves forward into a lifetime of loving and serving Jesus.
Moving away from spiritual to a little more down-to-earth, we have some great Charlie-isms this month:
+ “So far I’m one of the smartest people in the family.” Me: “Really. And whose the very smartest?” Charleston: “Siri.”
+ When he told me he wants to be a police officer and I asked why: “Easy—catchin’ bad guys! And maaaaaybe also being able to speed a little bit. You know, cool style.”
+ And when he said he also wants to be a scientist: “Because there’s so much cool stuff to learn. I want to be the potion kind of scientist.”
+ Discussing giftings, when I asked what he thinks I’m good at: “Being a mom! Because you give lots of snuggles.”
+ When asked at church to give an example of sin: “Throwing chocolate on someone.” When I heard this, I asked why this was a sin. Charleston: “Well, because it would be pretty messy.” Me: “Being messy isn’t a sin.” Charleston: “To your parents it is.”
+ “Daddy, did you know your job isn’t important. Because it’s you’re REAL job that’s important. And your real job is being a good dad.”
+ “I hope when I’m an adult my wife is the one who works and I just get to take naps all day. Like, she does what Daddy does, and I do what you do.”
One more exciting Charleston milestone this month was that he lost his top front tooth this past weekend. I can’t get over how different he looks without it!
// HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS //
Visiting Sweet Berry Farms in October is a favorite family tradition, and we were excited to return after missing it last year. We went with my sister-in-law and nephew, and we all had a great time. The kids took turns riding in the wagon between bouncing on the jumper, riding the hay ride and train, and exploring the pumpkins. The highlight of the day was the corn maze; I was impressed both Kali and Sully walked the entire thing on their own (in boots, no less!).
The kids and I visited our second pumpkin patch of the season with our Mops friends. This was a smaller patch, but there was still plenty to do. Charleston loved the hay maze and the giant slide (I lost track of how many times he rode down it!). We all rode in the barrel train: the twins needed me to ride with them, and squeezing into that tiny barrel with both Kali AND Sully is one of the more ridiculous things I’ve done as a parent—at least they enjoyed it!
We launched into Halloween weekend this past Friday with trick-or-treating at a local city hall. It was our first opportunity of the weekend to wear our family Nemo costumes. (All three kids adore Nemo so it was an easy decision for our family theme this year.) The event looked a little different this year due to COVID restrictions, and we missed wandering the hallways and visiting offices of city workers, but the kids still had fun getting candy, taking pictures at various photo stands, and checking out some city vehicles. This was the twins’ first time trick-or-treating and Kali knew exactly what to do and was great saying “trick-or-treat,” holding out her bucket (we had to use Easter baskets because there were no Halloween pumpkin buckets to be found), and receiving candy (which the twins are still too young to eat and thankfully don’t even know what they’re missing out on yet). Sully was a little overstimulated/overwhelmed but still seemed to have a good time. We got to the event early which meant we beat the crowds, and it was nice to have the whole event almost to ourselves (though I’ll admit to missing seeing lots of cute kids costumes).
Yesterday’s Halloween festivities were so much fun! We began the day at church, where the kids were invited to wear their costumes; seeing our church filled with little costumed munchkins was just the best. After church we came home and carved our pumpkins. The twins colored next to us while Luke, Charleston, and I scooped out and carved. Charleston designed all three pumpkin faces, all with the aim of being as spooky as possible.
Last night we went trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood wasn’t quite as festive as last year, but there were still quite a few people passing out candy from their driveways, and though the streets weren’t crowded, we were far from the only family out collecting candy. The kids all did great going up to the doors, then asking for and picking out their candy. It’s so exciting that all three of them can do this now! And our costumes were a huge hit, not just with the neighbors but also with our kids themselves, who beamed every time they received compliments. We were out for almost two hours, and the twins walked for quite a bit of that time before loading into the wagon. We came home with baskets packed full of candy and three tired but very happy kiddos.
I hope your October was filled with pumpkin spice and everything nice. Cheers to a lovely November!