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In which Evelynn turns 8 months old

I have a new full time job: it’s called Stop The Baby From Choking On Things. At least three times a day, I’ve got my fingers stuffed in her mouth, sweeping something out of there – from dust bunnies under the couch (who knew those things could choke a baby? Only those of us that don’t vacuum under our couches nearly enough apparently), bits of yarn under beds to crumbs from messy eaters (not naming any names… *cough*Joe*cough*), I have decided to set up the play pen. I never used a playpen for my other two but I know when I’m beat.

It’s my only hope for some peace of mind at this point.

She is on the move constantly. She’s pulling up on the furniture, obsessed with the bathtub and determined to avoid sleeping through the night. She worships her brother and sister, requires my constant presence to maintain her sweet and joyful nature and has sprouted four little toothies. Out of 131 pictures that I took in a 10 minute period, only three or four had her actually in focus or looking at the camera.

Busy girl.

If babies were all like this one, I’d probably have a dozen. She is so sweet and fun. Even when it’s tiring, I don’t really mind now. I know that it goes too too fast.

She pokes that little tongue out, saucy girl, and my heart nearly leaps out of my chest at the wonder of her.

I mean, honestly. EYELASHES. 

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Continue Reading · Evelynn, family, photos · 32

In which the spirits of the air live in the smells

I mean, look at that boy’s face. That is totally Joe.

Oh, my friends, these last days of the warm late afternoon sunshine are slipping through our fingers.

As William Blake wrote, the daughters of the year shall dance at this time.  The rain is coming, the cold will creep into our bones for another long winter that we will spend counting the days since we last saw the sun, trying to enjoy another day of cold rain or wet snow. But right now? “The spirits of the air live in the smells.” (There really isn’t anyone better than Blake for seasons, is there?)

So we’re outside in the fall sunshine, riding hay racks, piling pumpkins, jumping on gigantic pillows (seriously – how fun does that look? I vote for one at the next womens’ retreat).

The real world is made up of homemade applesauce from local apples, tire swings and the gentleness of a three-year-old boy patting a bunny.

It’s handknit sweaters, handfuls of scarlet and gold leaves, grandparents visiting bearing gifts of attention, the ministry of food and homemade quilts.

The real life is in making some room for the inspiration, the peace and the loving in the small, this careful and intentional filling up, so that during those dark months, the light spills out through my own cracks.

I feel like a person when I’m outside in the fall.

I’d sing out loud in the pumpkin patch if I knew a melody for the poetry of fall.

“O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
and tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruit and flowers.
~ William Blake, To Autumn

(Most photos with a few exceptions were taken by my mother-in-law. We were at the Apple Barn and a few other places in them.)

Elsewhere, in case you missed it:

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Continue Reading · family, local, photos, seasons, writing · 15

In which I am experiencing a thousand gifts (588-609)

This morning, like most mornings lately, I got up before dawn. For some reason, my entire life, I’ve been one of those very irritating morning people, the kind that wakes up at six singing songs even before the coffee is on. (I know, I know. Brian accepts your sympathies.) No grouchy-bear mornings allowed in our house because it’s my best time, the time when I’m most creative, most alive, most happy every day so I can’t really complain that the tinies are morning people, too, up and singing every morning despite Brian’s half-hearted pleas from the bed that “in some cultures, there are people that like to sleep in, you know.”

Every other morning, I quietly pull on my clothes and sneak out. Sometimes I go for a walk at Mill Lake. Sometimes I go to Starbucks to read. Other mornings, like today, I get my coffee and head to the high hills to watch the sun rise on the mountains across the Sumas prairie. I don’t stay long – maybe 20 or 30 minutes but long enough for the sun to rise slow against the hills, for the mist to begin to lift off the valley, for the wind to take my breath to prayer and rest for a while.

This? Makes me feel like a real person again, a human being instead of a human-doing.

Most of what I pray nowadays is just thank you. And that’s enough.

588. Best friends in your own family.

589. Joe’s constant tending of his “vegable gar-den” in the pool.

590. This summer, they have grown into being real friends, playing for hours and hours together.

591. Water rats, both of them. They would never get out and swim like little trout.

592. And then this little one, sitting poolside with her mama. All smiles and eyes and eyelashes.

593. The smell at the base of her neck, right above her birthmark, is simply a taste of heaven.

594. Her absolute delight in life, her content curiosity.

595. Blackberries that grow like weeds. We walk up the hill and fill another pail.

596. Teasing Anne that I’m going to call her Sal because it’s plink-plank-plunk and then she eats all three.

597. Dimples in her elbows and hands and creases in her wrists. Fat, happy baby girl.

598. Dandelion gifts, just for me.

599. Monkey bars.

600. Wooden playgrounds that are always empty for some reason, everyone else at the fashionable busy ones, I guess.

601. The walk back home, back down our hill, to our white house, past the blueberry farm in the valley.

602. Discovering that I must have missed my true calling as a carnival face painter.

603. Blue-eyed lizard pirates playing bare chested all afternoon.

604. Butterfly girl, decorating herself with leaves in her hair.

That’s a lizard pirate, in case you were wondering. 

605. The girls at SheLoves Magazine. (Seriously, if you have subscribed to that site or friended them on Facebook, get on that. The variety of female voice and experience is wonderful. Never mind that I write there, too… *cough cough*)

606. My sister is back on maternity leave and I’ve never been so happy to be making pancakes for a houseful of tinies in my life.

607. The way my little niece Addison calls me “Auntie-Mama.” And how we’re raising our tinies to call each other “sister-cousin” and “brother-cousin” because, clearly, there is a difference in this type of cousin.

608. The hard, unglamorous work between the great grand idea and the finished project. Know what I mean, Megan and Nish? Grateful for that and a steep learning curve, too.

609. My new little Thankful Tree sitting in my kitchen window sill.

Linked up, as always, with the Thousand Gifts community.

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Continue Reading · a thousand gifts, family, gratitude, photos, prayer, tinies · 0

In which we gather and smile

My sister/best friend and her sweet family.

My Mum and one of my little nieces. Hello, Eyelashes.

Me and my littlest girleen, Evelynn Joan.
Rachel is practically a member of the family now. This is the third shoot she has done for our family, this time with the 11 of us on my side of the family. I never had professional pictures in my life (except for my wedding pictures) and now I am sick of my own face. Oh, Tyra – you’ve earned every cent of your millions for your “smizing.” 
Seriously though, I love how Rachel connects with the tinies, telling stories and engaging. I love how she truly *sees* the moments and captures them beautifully. She just has eyes that see the truth of the relationships behind her lens and then – snap – captures them. 
If you would like to see more, check out her amazing blog.
Or better yet, book her. You won’t regret it.

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Continue Reading · family, photos, sponsors · 5