It began on Friday with the dance recital.

Recital Ready

Julia tumbled.

Julia's 2015 Dance Picture

Phoebe tapped and plie’d.

Phoebe's 2015 Dance Picture

And after a four year break, Lucy returned to the stage for her second-ever dance performance.

Lucy's 2015 Dance Picture

You’ll have to ask Dave how it went. Since I’d been to rehearsal and seen the show already, I agreed to be the one to remove Jack should he become a distraction, which he did. We walked the lobby, my boy and I, where he acted as host to all the other restless children that stopped by. He’d say hello, show them the water fountain, invite them to play. And for the first time in eight years, Dave saw a show.

The piano recital happened on Sunday.

Mr. Palmer, Julia and Lucy

Lucy played London Bridge.

Lucy's Spring Piano Recital

Julia played the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonatina in G Major.

Julia's Spring Piano Recital

And Dave listened from the hallway with Jack.

We’ve gotten out the giant bubbles.

Big bubbles are best!

Bee and the giant bubble

Bubba's first giant bubble!

And ball season has officially begun. Lucy’s team kicked it off with their first game (and first win) last night.

Up to bat

Also, her first ever home run!

Score!

Julia’s team has their first game next week, and Phoebe’s team begins playing the following week. That’s three teams and thirty-two games. (Two games down, thirty to go!) And then, there will be tournaments!

This season marks Dave’s eighth year of coaching. Our kids have never played ball on a team their dad didn’t help coach, which hasn’t always been an easy feat. We are so very thankful he has a job and work schedule (along with some sleep deprivation and strategically planned vacation days) that have enabled him to pull it off. Because it’s his passion – not just ball, but teaching the kids to love playing the game. It’s something between them and him that I can only sit on the sidelines and feel honored to watch. It’s a strong thread in the fabric of our family and there’s enough of it that they can wrap themselves up in it and feel secure, long after the season is done.

I like to imagine a future once the kids are grown where part of coming home includes an enormous family game. I’ll lead the cheering section with the smallest of my grandkids and then serve a Martha Stewart level post-game meal where Dave will give out the game ball.

These are the good feelings I need to hold on to over the next eight weeks – for when we lose, when we’re tired, when we’re stressed, when it’s hard. Because, truly, it’s worth it.

Walking the Trail

by Leslie

We were out on a dreary day and met a crawdad on the way to our walking trail. He was the biggest I’d ever seen!

Mr. Crawdad

He was right beside the road, closer to our house than to the trail, making his way to the stream after a big rain. He didn’t move for the longest time. Still, Bee and Jack were happy to sit still in their wagon and watch him from there.

Once we got off the road, the kids ditched their ride to enjoy the freedom of the trail. Jack ran ahead as fast as he could. Bee took her time, and stopped to investigate rocks and pick flowers.

Jack walks alone

We stopped at the brown bridge.

Jack and Bee on the brown bridge

Bee was wearing pajamas bottoms. That would have driven me nuts before. Not now. Not anymore.

Bee and Me at the brown bridge

I love walking the trail. It’s easier to be present there.

Jack and Daddy on the trail

It’s easier to feel grateful.

We were out on the trail on a sunny day while Lucy and Dave were at softball.

Jack and Julia

Jack and Julia walked ahead while Bee held my hand, letting go now and then to pick me a flower or to pick up a lucky stone and put it in her pocket.

She carried him

After a while, Julia carried Jack.

And carried him

We could hear them laughing and singing songs.

And he loved it

And so Bee and I caught up to them and joined in.

Julia, Bee, and Jack on the trail

I felt grateful.

I was brushing my teeth on Easter morning when Phoebe the Early Riser quietly sidled up to me and said, “Mom. I need to tell you the story of the Easter Bunny.”

“Okay,” I garbled. I spit, replaced my toothbrush in its holder, and took a seat on the edge of the tub in preparation for the telling. “Let’s hear it.”

“I crept down the stairs,” she began softly and slowly, wiggling her fingers, then suddenly gaining speed and volume she erupted, “and there was toys and candy everywhere!” She gestured sharply with her hands to emphasize the words TOYS and CANDY and EVERYWHERE. “The Easter Bunny brought them,” she said with whaddaya gonna do hands.

It was a shorty story.

She told it again to her brother, sisters, and grandmother and then we all clamored downstairs to verify the facts. Toys? Check. Candy? Check. Everywhere? Sure. The kids tore right into it all while I made bacon baskets filled with scrambled eggs for breakfast. After that, we set them loose outside to search for Easter eggs.

This year, I found a set of three giant nesting Easter eggs and included them in the hunt. I filled the smallest of the giant eggs with candy. The bigger one held bottles of bubble solution. I stuffed the biggest one with cans of silly string. I hid it in plain sight on the dashboard of the van, which was sitting in the driveway, and I locked the doors to ensure that all the kids would be together in one spot when they were unlocked and the contents of the egg revealed. This was how Dave and I were able to strike first, strike hard, and ultimately, win the silly string battle.

After that, the giant egg parts became helmets.

Yes, magic helmet, and I'll give you a sample!

“Yes, magic helmet, and I’ll give you a sample!” Right?

To See and Be Seen

by Leslie

Dave and I celebrated our 11th anniversary at Oglebay on Sunday, just the two of us.

11th Anniversary

We enjoyed a lovely dinner, gambled at Wheeling Island, and treated ourselves to a couple’s signature massage experience at the spa the next day – all delightful things. But the best thing was simply being with my husband. It seems odd to miss someone when they’re with you each day, but I had really been missing Dave. Sometimes life comes at us with such force that it feels like we’re back to back, facing outward, fighting to take it all on. He’s there – I know it, I can feel it and trust it, but he’s not what’s in front of me. It was revivifying to stop and turn around.

keep looking »