This post is coming to you from the front seat of our brand new (to us) truck as our family inches our way toward the Texas coast, a trailer hitched behind us. This truck and its capacity to tow a (borrowed) tailor is the fruition of a years-long dream for our family. And this coming week at the beach with my in-laws is a mashup of many lasts and firsts: it is the much-anticipated start to a new era of family adventures with our vehicle, and it is a gentle segue into a busy fall season, bookending a summer that began with another road trip to another beach in another state. The trip also happens to be our inaugural expedition with our newly-minted FOUR-year-olds: more on that, and much more, below.
|| READING LATELY ||
My reading was off this month, probably because I just wasn’t in the right brain space for books. I had some success with short fiction (I enjoyed this short story and found this sparse novel interesting if not especially enjoyable). I LOVED rereading the fourth Harry Potter book with Charleston (his first time through the book, and he loved it too!), but we were not so enthusiastic about this family readaloud. I also read some Middle Grade on my own: this was a lot of fun and I adored this (but wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers). I did NOT like this novel that others seem to be loving, and although I had been eagerly anticipating this book from a favorite author, I DNF’d it at around the 100-page mark: I could see that it was a good book, but the slow pace and enormous cast of characters wasn’t working for me, so I set it aside (probably for a future read) rather than pushing through. I am continuing my tour of Anne Tyler’s backlist and thought this was fantastic.
As for nonfiction, this unique history was fascinating. This unconventional take on life within the Church was funny and relatable, and I found so much encouragement and inspiration in this book that fit with my one-word theme for 2023 (I’ll be doing a full post dedicated to it later this month).
|| WATCHING LATELY ||
After finishing our read-aloud of The Goblet of Fire, Charleston and I (and Luke, who also read the book on his own) were excited to watch the movie. I’m sure I had previously seen this movie at some point, but I remembered little of it, so watching it was a new experience for me, too. Technically, the film is amazing: the cinematography, costuming, and even the acting are all superb. Still, the movie does not compare with the book and we were all frustrated by how much content was cut. I’m not surprised; the book is way too long to be crammed into one film, but it was still disappointing to see whole storylines and even characters tossed out. And with so much missing, I imagine the story would be difficult to follow without having first read the book. The movie makes a great companion, but it certainly no replacement for the novel. Our Rating: 4 Stars.
|| LISTENING LATELY ||
A (very long) list of podcasts that inspired and informed this month.
|| MONTHLY KID-ISMS ||
- “Is it just me, or when you think about it, is 8 REALLY old?!”
- “I’ve never been to that place before. Even for an 8-year-old, some things can still be brand new.”
- “You know how in books people can choose to be ghosts is they have unfinished business? I think I want to be a ghost. So I’ll just start a puzzle and leave it unfinished so I can come back.”
- About Abraham’s servant bringing gold jewelry to woo a wife for Isaac. “Wow, that’s really bold to bring gold jewelry when he’s not even sure she’d say yes. I think I’d do silver or bronze to start off.”
- “Mom, my nose is bleeding! See, that’s a good reason to pick your nose, you will know if it’s bleeding.”
- “I think one of the best things about Daddy is he’s really good at giving consequences.”
- “Who will be in my tummy when I get married? Hmm, I think Lynnie might be scared in my tummy. So maybe I’ll get married with no baby.”
- “I know how to do this all by myself because I’m a big girl. You can call me mommy if you want to.”
- “We don’t need to clean our house, because God will do that for us, right?”
- In a prayer: “Please help the mosquitos not be in our house so they don’t bite us and so they can go and be with their families.”
- Part of a prayer: “God, help me to get to Heaven really fast!”
- “Daddy, why are you doing stretches?” Luke: “to help my back because I’m getting old.” Sully: “Oh, are you dying? Because when we get old we die.”
- “Only mommies and daddies can say mean things. Kids cannot say mean things.”
- “How come Daddy doesn’t do school with us? Is it because he doesn’t know how?”
- “All the days my body keeps getting very hungry and very tired. I don’t know why my body keeps doing that. But I am too full for lunch. I’m just hungry for candy.”
- Part of a prayer: “Help us to stay in love because you love us and you are our favorite. And don’t let God fall out of our hearts.”
- Part of a prayer: “Make sure God kills all the bad guys and make sure we don’t be sad because the Lord is with us. Amen.”
- “Mom, Charlie tooted on my tummy, and that means I get an infection.”
- Kali: “What does alone mean?” Sully: “Alone means somebody is by themself and they’re sad.”
|| HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS ||
Luke and Charleston went on their first monthly camping trip with their Trail Life troop, a weekend at a military museum in College Station. It was an uncomfortable weekend for them—extremely humid with a thunderstorm to boot—but they stuck it out and had a really good time. Luke totally geeked out over all the military stuff and Charleston enjoyed the outdoor activities (ropes course, hatchet throwing, shooting, tag, and more). The twins and I enjoyed our solo weekend while they were away, with lots of games and extra playtime and even a sleepover in Mama’s bed (total flop, but we tried!).
Much of the month was dedicated to birthday fun with the twins, beginning with their birthday party last weekend. This was the first “friends” party we’ve had for them, and they looked forward to it for months. We couldn’t settle on a joint theme, so we went with a dual theme of Disney Princesses and Paw Patrol (their two favorite things). I was able to find an Etsy creator who could do a joint birthday invitation and I loved how it turned out.
We kept things pretty simple with a lunch of snacky food and pizza (eaten on Princess and Pup plates, of course), store-bought cakes and cupcakes (with Pup and Princess toppers—displayed on the cutest stands), and backyard playtime (we have a bounce house, trampoline, and playground, plus we put out some lawn games as well as a Pin-the-Crown-on-Cinderella poster and Paw Patrol bowling game). On the morning of the party, the kids helped me fill our home with Princess and Pup streamers, signs, and balloons. They were just as excited about the decorations as the party itself and thanked me many times for creating such a fun party for them. Party Favors were Princess and Paw Patrol Little Golden Books with coloring pads for the boys and nail polish for the girls. These were a huge hit with our guests!
We were thrilled that so many of our friends could make it to the party! Our guests took the theme quite seriously and it was so precious to see twenty little princesses and their pups prancing across the yard. Though we’d planned to be outside for the party, most of us ended up indoors playing in the playroom and with board games (and keeping cool, as it was pretty humid out). The twins had the time of their lives playing with their friends and being the center of attention during cake time. Their smiles, plus the chance to hang out with friends we don’t often see, made my day as the birthday mom. Our house was packed and our hearts were so full.
Their birthday itself was a more muted affair, but still fun. We had a morning of playtime and easy school, talked with my parents on FaceTime, and went to gymnastics. Then I took the kids to Burger King for lunch, where they played for hours on the playground. We skipped naptime in favor of a movie and popcorn, and when Luke got done with work we opened presents, ate pancakes for dinner, and went for round two of birthday cake. Kali and Sully were silly and excited all day long, and very enthusiastic about having reached this milestone.
|| ICYMI: SEPT. ON THE BLOG ||
FAITH & FAMILY:
Walking in the Dark “My sense of smallness is overpowered by a greater awareness of a sovereign Lord who is watching over us all. An omniscient God who is aware of the tears and laughter and heartache and joy taking place behind each door.”
Filled Up (September Verse—Psalm 96:1-4) “Of the many side effects of infobesity, the most dangerous of all is one not often cited by scientists or medical experts. It’s a spiritual consequence that doesn’t need a medical diagnosis to be true: when we are experiencing an overload of information, we have saturated the God-given space intended to be occupied by our Creator.”
An Assortment of Things I Learned in the Summer of ’23 “I learned that God does not always provide the clear answers we seek: I prayed fervently for more than a year that God would give us a VERY CLEAR sign that we should leave; that sign never came, and yet we came to a point that we just knew.“
Faithful 09.23— Double Blessings “It’s easy to celebrate God’s faithfulness when things turn out according to our plans. It’s harder to recognize His faithfulness when life is not going as we wish it would. But God IS faithful, not just because of what He has done for each of us, but because of who He is.“
Kalinda and Sullivan Turn FOUR! “There is so much I love about parenting; one thing I do NOT love and that nothing could have prepared me for was the quickness of it all: the birthdays that pile up and the milestones that speed by and the little of-the-moment habits and quirks and mannerisms and preferences that are always changing and too quickly forgotten.“
28 Things You’ll Want to List Yourself “These list ideas are yours for the taking. Use them as journal prompts, incorporate them into your dinnertime conversations, mull over them while stuck in traffic or out on a walk (or my personal favorite, while trying to fall asleep at night)—the options are endless. Whenever you are feeling the need to fill some time, keep your brain happily occupied, or bring a semblance of order to life’s chaos, do what I do and make a list!“
“Never be so focused on the thing you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.” ~ Ann Patchett
“Let us realize that: the privilege of work is a gift; the power of work is a blessing; the love of work is a success.” ~ David O. McKay
“Our title is not our identity. Our dreams do not define us. The God of heaven above and earth below is the author of our story and the giver of our worth. He has created us in His image and commissioned us to carry that image into the world, proclaiming the goodness, mercy, and power of the one true King.” ~ Amanda Bible Williams
“God is more interested in having our hearts than having our dreams come true.” – Ruth Chou Simmons
And with that, my friends, I am signing off for a bit. We have had a very full month with an even busier month ahead, so I need to lighten my load with a small blogging break. You won’t be hearing from me for a couple of weeks, but I will be back here on Monday, October 16, with a Quick Lit post for you. Until then, enjoy your October (after all, it’s the very best month!).