a glimpse into our home: july 17, 2014

IMG_8111These moments. The day was filled with them today.
They are what my heart longed for when a second child was just in our hopes and prayers.
Luke wouldn’t even stop talking to her long enough for me to snap a photo.

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entering into summer

Things are in full summer mode in our house now (well, except the weather, which is drizzly and overcast today). We’ve been busy working and playing outside, keeping up with Luke, and embracing summertime fun.

IMG_6589We added another raised vegetable bed and a couple wine barrels to our garden so we have more veggies this year. As always, we probably started a little later than we should have, so hopefully everything still works out okay. Luke loved using the new garden bed as his own personal play space for a couple days. Then he helped Ian plant seeds, which he loved. Almost every time we are outside he “plants seeds!” by moving around dirt or whatnot with his shovel. He will also walk around the yard asking what different plants are called – definitely his father’s son.

IMG_6597_2The kiddo also takes after his dad in his love for smoothies. He’s also mastered a pretty awesome “cheese” face.

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And he turned 2! We had a family bbq at my parent’s house, which worked out well since they are on the south side of the Skagit River bridge, which wasn’t fixed at the time, and Ian’s family all lives south of there. Luke loved seeing all his family, getting lots of attention, food, and some great play time with his older cousin Isabel.

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On Fathers Day we headed over to a local berry farm for their Strawberry Festival. We enjoyed free strawberry sundaes and Luke enjoyed a few turns on the tractor train. He is kind of obsessed with driving lately – he recently realized that he always has to sit in the back seat of the car, and now every trip involves his loud protests to “drive!” or at least sit in the “front!” Well, this little tractor train was perfect – if you ask him about it, he usually says “drive!” It may have been the best day of his life so far.

It is so fun to see his personality emerge. The minute we got out of the car and he saw the train, he hustled over to it and wanted to get on. So in he went, and a minute later he was headed out into a field with a bunch of kids he didn’t know and a man driving a tractor to who knows where. We waved as he rounded the corner and he was just happy as a clam, even though he probably had no real idea of where he was going. I had to laugh, because I was the exact opposite as a child – I would have had to watch the train go around at least five times or more, so I would know what would happen. And if there were too many other kids I didn’t know, I probably would have had no part in it. To Luke, it’s all an adventure and every kid is a potential friend. It’s been awesome to get to parent this brave, extroverted little guy.

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A few days later we headed out to another berry farm to pick strawberries. We picked 18 lbs of yummy berry goodness – well, I use the term “we” pretty loosely. I picked a couple pounds while Luke ate a few, then I spent the rest of the time running around with Luke while Ian picked, we all had a great time. We spent the next few nights putting up 17 pints of jam and a few pints of strawberry syrup. Luke got pretty creative in finding ways to nab a berry or two…

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So that’s what we’ve been up to lately! I hope your summer is off to a great start as well!

so long, sweet summer

Despite the beautiful sunny days we’ve been having around here, I’m starting to embrace the fact that fall has arrived finally arrived. We had a long, full summer, and I am grateful for every moment.

This past spring, when the sunlight got longer and the weather started to take a turn towards warmth, all my emotions and memories from last summer started to come rushing back. And it was wonderful. Last summer was definitely one of the best seasons of my life.

Not to go all Koine Greek on you, but last summer I felt like I was living in kairos time. Chronos is the word used to describe chronological time, but kairos is a special experience of time – an appointed time, or an experience that is beyond the normal chronos of daily life.

Last summer was such a blessing – Luke entered our family so quickly and seamlessly, a perfect gift from a gracious God. We spent hours snuggling, staring at him, just being together as a family of three. Luke was on a 3 hour schedule, but we still lived beyond that. I was working 15 hours a week, but I was able to take Luke into the office with me – though it often took me 7 hours to get in 5 hours of work, it didn’t matter. We were together and content; it was such a special season where chronological time mattered a lot less than the time we were experiencing.

{And don’t get me wrong – there were days when I prayed for grace, grace and more grace; but God always delivered on that, with the added bonus that Luke was a very content newborn.}

I remember times last summer when I would think about what this summer would be like – would it even compare? The joy and contentment I felt in becoming Luke’s mom was so incredible, it was hard to imagine life beyond that season.

And really? This summer was great. Different, but so great.

Naps in the yard were replaced by lots of play in the kiddie pool and splash table…

It’s funny, because gardening seemed challenging last year – trying to fit it into his 3 hour cycles. I imagined that this summer he would be able to play happily next to us while we worked… that didn’t happen until a couple weeks ago. Finally his quest for dangerous places and gross things to put in his mouth was replaced by a new satisfaction in simply playing in the dirt.

I will say that he and Ian had the cutest little routine all summer. Ian would get him all set up in the stroller and take him out to water the plants and tend to the garden. My energetic, always-moving little boy would sit contentedly and watch his daddy, often for an hour or so. I would look out the window and see Ian explaining something to him and Luke would be watching with such an earnest little face. Freaking adorable. And sometimes dad would let him hold the garden tools.

Last year outings to the park were more for my sake than Luke’s. And it was really only fun if I happened to be babysitting an older kiddo – though I’d never complain about those newborn snuggles.

Luke’s first trip to Boulevard Park.

But this summer Luke was all over trying the slides, climbing up stairs and finding awesome mole hills to destroy.

Adventures and outings were a ton more fun this year. Last year Luke hung out in the ergo when we’d go somewhere, which he absolutely loved.

This year he got to participate in whatever we were doing, and, like any kid, he just loves to be included. Okay, he especially likes to be included when it comes to food…

Luke’s first gyro at the St Sophia Greek Festival.

One thing that people pick up on pretty fast is that Luke is very excitable. When he sees someone or something that makes him excited, he starts making excited grunts and sounds and points to everything in sight. So taking him to new place is a lot of fun because he reacts so much. A trip to the Vancouver Aquarium was a recent favorite.

Again, it was just a really fun summer. There were definitely moments of kairos, and the chance to experience the growing joy of really knowing someone. Last summer we nurtured and cared for a tiny little baby; this summer we watched our baby become a toddler and develop all kinds of new skills and aspects to his personality. It is such a privilege to be his parents, and every season brings new joys and challenges – I am grateful for the past and excited for the future.

Typical family moment captured by Evantide Photography.

more light

I have been so surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed “springing ahead” with daylight savings time this year! I love the cozy, winter days and don’t mind the dark evenings. But this year I’m really welcoming the extra light in the later hours. I feel strangely nostalgic and sentimental – the brighter evenings trigger memories of  having Luke last summer, and it makes my heart so happy to remember those early days of falling in love with him.

It also makes me excited for things to come this spring and summer. Baby boy seems to LOVE being outside – in his swing, going for a walk, or inspecting the garden with daddy. I’ve let him play in the hazelnut shell mulch a couple times, and he has been fascinated by them (he’ll actually examine them for a good five minutes before attempting to taste them – that’s a long time for him!).

I’m excited to work in the vegetable garden again, growing yummy sugar snap peas and tons of lettuce.

I’m ready to see our hibernating flowers blossom and bloom again.

I’m looking forward to laundry drying in the breeze.

I am trying to be patient as the weather catches up with the extra light, but it’s not easy.

What about you? Has the added daylight cheered you up?

a more welcoming entrance

Pretty much since we’ve been in our house, I’ve been talking about putting in a path from the street to our front door. Not only would it be handy for getting the mail, but it would make things way less awkward when people visit. Some people are willing to walk across the lawn, but most go all the way around to the driveway, and squeeze their way past our cars to get to our front walk. Anyways, it wasn’t exactly a priority when we were living with a semi-complete bathroom and no real kitchen. And last summer we did so much to the yard, including a nice back patio. So the front path finally made the to-do list this summer – one of two things we were going to do “before the baby came.” Right. Well, we committed to doing it Labor Day weekend. My mom had a furlough day off of work on Friday, so she volunteered to come up for a couple days to watch Luke while we worked. This project came together so quickly, it was very gratifying!

We knew from previous experience that spending a little money to rent a sod cutter for a few hours would be well worth it! Ian had the sod cut in a matter of minutes versus hours of us digging it up.

       

We hauled off the sod, raked it fairly level, put down landscaping fabric, sand and added the pavers (yeah…no pictures of that part). Meanwhile, Luke supervised, which proved to be very tiring for the little guy…


The next day we looked at our mulch options. I really wanted something unique – I had my heart set on cocoa husks that I had seen at Sky Nursery in Shoreline last year. But none of the local nurseries carry it, and in the end it was probably not the best choice because it can make dogs sick. So we went with beauty bark (the bane of my childhood – every.single.summer we spread it in our yard). And I will say that I love the end result.

The view from the street, before and after:

Looking at our house from the street - before

Looking at our house from the street - after

The view from our front door, before and after:

     

So happy to see this project done! And the view from the kitchen window is nicer now too. It was a fun project, and we were thankful that it came together so quickly. Now we just need to get some steps made from our living room door to the patio…