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?

My Sweet Moonbeam

by Leslie

Phoebe. Bright and shining, radiant as the moon, as her name suggests, with a bit of a sullen streak. She’s a got a scowl that most kids have to go through the pain of puberty to earn. It’s impressive! But nothing compare to her smile.

Rawr!

Giggle

Smile

Swinging Bee

It was warm enough to shed our jackets, yesterday. After school, when Dave and Julia went to softball practice, the rest of us headed out for a walk, along with this thing.

The scooter

The Scooter. Sun-bleached and worn, it bears the hallmarks of an often-used, well-loved toy. But I do not love the scooter. I don’t think the kids really love the scooter either, though they declare it at the start of every walk. We have to take the scooter! The scooter is so fun! We can’t leave without it! No, they don’t love the scooter. They love the idea of the scooter, because as soon as we’re too far from home to reasonably take it back, they hand it to me.

On this day, I drug the scooter to the trail entrance and parked it off to the side. “We’ll pick it up on the way back,” I said.

“What if someone takes it?” Phoebe worried.

“No one will take it. No one wants that scooter.”

Lucy spoke up. “I do.”

“Well, you can bring it along,” I offered.

So we left the scooter and resumed our hike.

Brown leaves littered the trail and Lucy commented that it looked more like fall to her. We searched for signs that the world was waking up from winter, but Mother Nature grumbled and rolled over for just a few minutes more. We tossed sticks into the muddy stream from the bridge and watched them race under it and out the other side until our tummies told us it was time for dinner.

Bee, Jack, and Lucy at the brown bridge

And on the way home, we picked up the scooter.

The Book Nook

by Leslie

Some good friends of ours have both a closet book nook and a beneath-the-loft-bed hideaway. Every time we visit them, the kids each find time to steal away into one or both of these spaces. Even with the Super Fantastic Ultra-Terrific Most Amazing Mega-Fun Time Friend Party raging around them, they’ll choose to step away and tuck up in that cozy space for some quiet time alone. So, we’ve made our own.

The book nook

We moved a bookcase under the loft, added some plump pillows and soft lights, and there you have it. We considered curtains, but Jack the Rip-Downer suggested it was not the best idea. Maybe later.

Reading in the book nook

Of the books that live in our nook, here’s the latest and greatest.

Our latest, greatest book

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Jack suggests his favorite book, also by Neil Gaiman, Chu’s Day.

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