The first thing that happened in June is that I got a new phone! It isn’t top-of-the-line by any means, but at least it isn’t ancient anymore. While I love photography with my fancy-schmancy DSLR, having a quick camera in my pocket is unbeatable! So now I will have LOTS more photos to share on this blog. Aren’t you lucky, my poor readers?!
We started the month at church and then driving by this cool hand-made tree house near church. The kids have always begged us to stop so they can go inside, and this time we said yes. Unfortunately the doors were locked, but they were satisfied to climb outside it instead.
Jackson and I checked out a book at the library called Sidney and Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs and LOVED it so much that I bought a copy. You really should go read it, because the best part is when Jackson took it to heart and came up to me and whispered in my ear: “First of all, I love you. Second of all, I love you. Third of all, I love you!” He carried the book around in the car for a day and read it to himself. Joy!
The single biggest blessing of our summer has been our “nanny,” Genevieve! Her family attends our church, and we started talking in late winter about my need for a nanny this summer. She agreed to stay with the kids three days a week while I work, and the kids ADORE her. (Actually, ADORE is an understatement!) She takes them to the pool, plays Just Dance on the Wii with them, picks up a few groceries for me when they venture out to the store (where she has scavenger hunts with them!), takes the kids to the movie and library, enforces our family rules, and does it all with a hug and even an “I love you” as I leave in the mornings for work. This girl has ROCKED our summer and I can’t tell you how much I adore her too!
So, this new phone of mine means I’m getting a slight bit more technically advanced. This new fandangled FaceTime thing (could you hear me say that in my old-timer’s voice?) is pretty darn cool. When I was out of town for my niece’s graduation, I used FaceTime for the first time. It is somethin’ else, I tell ya!
To top it all off, Dan used FaceTime to connect me to church while I was in North Carolina. My setting was on my sister’s porch in front of a lake, but I got to worship in real time with my church family. Now THAT is really cool!
While Jackson was at camp for three days, Katie and I had an adventure day. We went to a nearby pottery store so she could paint a new plate to go with a “You Are Special Today” plate that we use in our family. The new “You Are Loved” plate that she made can be used for any regular ol’ day to remind someone in our house that he or she is loved.
Baptism is a big deal at our church. The building is under major construction right now, which means a new baptismal pond was created in our back yard. It was full of muddy water, and a huge crew of people worked incredibly hard to get it ready for baptism Sunday. This is just one of the days the crew spent mucking out the pond. (Have I mentioned I work with some truly dedicated people?)
I got to squeeze in dinner with a high school friend who was in town for a conference. It was so nice to catch up with my friend Tracy, and for Katie to meet her too. I felt so young AND so old at the same time, because it felt like no time had passed – and yet I had a ten-year-old daughter sitting beside me. Too weird!
This is an event that happens daily at our house. The kids will plop themselves down wherever they land (the couch, the floor, the LoveSac, my bed or their own beds), and dive into library books. Every single time, I stop and think about how blessed I am to have such voracious readers. It gives me hope for their futures, and I send a prayer of gratitude to my parents for instilling it in me – and Dan’s parents for instilling a love of reading in him, which my kids still witness to this day when they hang out with their grandparents.
June means swimming at our neighborhood pool. This year, I had a Lifeproof case on my new phone and did some underwater photography. Fun times! (I returned the case, though. I didn’t like how the screen felt so plastic.)
We had an early Father’s Day celebration to visit a park and take a hike…
Baptism Eve at church was pretty spectacular, and the pond was ready just in time for a HUGE rainstorm. Ugh.
Katie turned ten and I took her out for breakfast at her favorite donut shop. I had a donut too, even though they aren’t gluten/corn/dairy free. And MAN it was good!
You know those days when you hear the bell on the ice cream truck start dinging, and you cringe in anticipation of a big tantrum when the kids hear it and you tell them NO…? One day, I saw the truck in our neighborhood as I was coming home from work. I stopped him and told him where our street is, and asked him to come so I could treat my kids. He did, and I treated them and The World’s Best Summer Nanny to ice cream. Yum! It was nice to say yes for a change!
Last year and this year, Dan worked with our church’s Outreach team to cook food at a local man’s farm that he named Our Father’s Farm. Youth from our church, the inner city, and some refugee families who live in St. Louis come out to find common ground and have farm fun. The kids and I took an early visit to the farm so Dan could deliver our smoker for the weekend food, and the kids enjoyed looking around the farm.
Jackson and I were invited to join my friend Gina and her boys at a local farm to explore and meet the animals. We saw cows, goats, sheep, hens and roosters, ducks, geese, barn kittens, donkeys and turkeys. But I think the boys’ favorite part was watching the cows pee and poop just a few feet away. Talk about a giggly group of boys!
I mentioned that our church is under construction. Every time I set foot in the building, something new has happened: a wall has been torn down or built in a new place, or an entire new extension has been completed. In late June, I showed up to see a large portion of the offices gutted and the furniture moved into the lobby until it was relocated a few hours later. (Have I mentioned I work with some very dedicated people?!)
Along with the construction at work, there have been lots of other changes underway. I have been seeking God’s answers to a whole new list of prayers. One day I was listening to a song on the way home from work and the lyrics said, “If there’s a road I should walk/Help me find it./If I need to be still/Give me peace for the moment./Whatever Your will, whatever Your will/Can you help me find it?” This was my view out the window, and I it reminded me that God always has my back. I am thankful for that!
Jackson has been begging for a toy bow and arrow that he saw at the store. I told him he could buy it when he saved the $5 on his own. Finally, he did it and was in heaven running around the yard with his new “bone and arrow” set.
Jackson has joined me a few times this summer for morning devotions. He reads his kids’ devotional (Jesus Wants All of Me) out loud to me, and I read my Bible too. It’s a nice way to start our day.
Jackson and I had a date at the local outdoor theater. It was his first trip to The Muny, and we saw Shrek: The Musical. He loved it and laughed a LOT at all the fart and burp jokes. I had a wonderful date too!
We also got to hang out with new friends at their neighborhood pool the last weekend of June. The kids swam in cold, rainy weather while the adults huddled under blankets and laughed enough to keep ourselves warm!