family party

We did in-person Kids Church for the first time yesterday, but as exciting as that was it wasn't even the headline story of the day: it was completely outmatched by the baby shower we went to in the afternoon. Now, I know that baby showers aren't usually considered to be non-stop fountains of fun and delight—certainly when I told people we were going to one they were inclined to apologize. But they didn't need to! Because it was a fantastic party. There was a pool!

the boys playing in a pool with their cousin

shower? pool party!

The mama being showered was my sister-in-law, who along with my brother and their two already-born kids are visiting from Virginia. We haven't seen them since before the pandemic—fairly long before—so it's been a joyful visit. Joyful, and just full! Our cousin who lives about an hour away wanted to get in on the family reunion fun, so the shower was really just an excuse to get us all together. The heart of the party was the ten kids: our three boys, their two first cousins, three of their second cousins (the hosts), and two of the second cousins' friends from down the street. As you can see from the photo above, they had lots of fun together.

The party started at 2:00, and besides the pool featured plenty of food, a Disney singalong (sorry, covid restrictions; we forgot!), and lots of relaxed hanging out. When we finally left a little after 8—facing an hour drive home!—we had to drag ourselves away, against the wishes of everyone else there, who all have later bedtimes than we do. We're tired this morning, but it was well worth it. Easily the party of the year so far!

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moments from the week

Zion airborne jumping onto the slip-and-slide

action!

Moments from the past week.

Zion and Elijah looking out the back door at the rain

rain rain rain

the boys listening to live music at the farmers market

music back at the market

Elijah looking at a book on the couch between the two dogs

when it rains we read

Elijah and a friend climbing up a boulder

they both made it up

the boys watching Nisia hit a pinata in Grandpa's backyard

birthday with cousins!

Harvey and Elijah breakfasting on the deck

sunny beautiful morning

Zion and Lijah exploring the big jumps of a derelict BMX track

abandoned BMX

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the garden mid July

the main part of the garden on July 16

lots of green

The first half of July had a lot of rain—the only days it didn't rain were the 5th and the 15th. So I haven't needed to water much! Of course, when the sun started shining yesterday and the temperature shot up into the 90s the plants were a little shocked. And tomatoes and peppers are probably a little behind schedule with the lack of sunshine. But everything that's just leaves is doing great: kale and basil are everything we could hope for. With all the water the blueberries are also giant, just like the ones at the store but better tasting. And I had the weeds under control before the rainy season started so, in the absence of sunshine, the garden is also fairly weed-free despite all the wet. The second round of peas I put in after the first one failed may have failed, but so, apparently, did all the weed seeds! Or maybe they're just waiting for next week's sun. We'll soon see!

our studio

Today Leah spent some time at recording video for a project. Audio recordings are much more common: we leave the house so she can record her podcast every couple weeks or so. Today the boys were with their cousins all day so it was only me who needed to vacate to make sure the video wouldn't be interrupted, but I didn't mind at all. I know the drill: I made something like 40 video recordings over the course of this pandemic (maybe more! I have no idea really, and I'm too tired to count). But I haven't had to for some time now, since our online Kids Church program—they were all for work—wrapped up in mid-June, and we'll be meeting outside in person this summer (starting this Sunday!). The skills are still there though, as is the simmering frustration at being interrupted in the middle of a good take by someone moving a chair upstairs. So I stayed well away.

When will one of us next need to record a video? Who knows. We may be seeing other people, but there are still some disturbing pandemic signs... our studio will be ready for action for a little while yet.

this life

In something of a turnaround from our usual practice over the past year, we've had a full in-person social calendar the last couple of days. We hung out with three different groups over yesterday and today—and even more amazing, I enjoyed three mixed drinks over those two days! Yesterday we closed the day with a delightful driveway picnic at our "Bible study", which is atypical of Bible studies in many ways and most notably yesterday in that the host offered us his signature cocktail of the summer, a beautifully colored concoction of mango juice and rum. How could I refuse?! Then today we took a hike with friends and then went to their house to play—indoors in that case, because while we're now somewhat dispersed they're still technically members of our bubble. No drinks there, though.

In the evening we were at my parents' house to celebrate the birthday of the boys' cousin Nisia, who they hadn't seen for something like two years. The visit was a last-minute surprise—I don't know if the boys were even more excited at the short-notice party than they would have been with more advance notice. I will say that, denied the opportunity to count down the days, Elijah did his best to count down hours. "I can't wait!" he told me at something like 11:00 in the morning. And my dad was ready for us all with free refills on the gin and tonics. I stopped after just two: even more than the socializing, I'm just not used to drinking any more!