"Have you been liking the way I've been acting?" Jane slips barefoot into the kitchen.
I pause over a white cutting board of strawberries. "Yes," I say. "What's come over you?" I grab her in a sideways hug. She melts into me.
Clad in flannel nightgown, she smiles up. "Before I do something I think, Will Mommy and Daddy like this? and, Will God like this? and if no one would like it," she shrugs, "I don't do it."
I pause to slow the moment, "That's good." I nod. "And you're thinking about if the right people like it." I let her go and chop the top off a strawberry, "It doesn't matter if everyone likes it. But with God and your parents it really does."
She lingers at my elbow. I chop a pile of strawberries into cubes and pile them in white dishes. She weaves conversation, one question to the next. While the rest of the brood brushes teeth and tries to find jammies, Jane and I tie up the loose ends of the day.
3017. How the kids keep calling Joe chubby-chubby-CHUBBY but have no idea what it means. "I think it means cute," Jack explains.
3018. Having a sister-in-law who is a professional photographer who completely spoils us with pictures of the baby and all the kids. (Soon to come.)
3019. Lucy's prayer, "And I pray we see Great-Grampa at Heaven."
3020. How the children plan their birthdays at breakfast and labor over how they will have chips without MSG for me at the party.
3021. How the children braid my hair during morning devotions.
3022. Jane's summary of Jack's wrestling season, "Guys that look tough aren't usually. And guys that don't really look tough are."
3023. Her conclusion at the end of the week, "The best thing ever would be to just sit here and visit with you."
3024. How she tells me at breakfast, "There's nothing worse-er than hating Jesus."
3025. Lucy learning theology, "Everyone that loves Jesus," she says, "is the light of the world. If you pretend to love Jesus but actually don't, you're not the light of the world. But I am the light of the world 'cause I love Jesus."
3024. How Myra keeps saying, "Hi BOY," to baby Joe.
3025. The three girls sitting in the bobcat outback watching Craig roll a rotten stump into the trailer, Jack loping around in flip-flops.
3026. Black rice. BLACK rice and the whole meal built around it.
3027. Sausage tomato soup with kale in it.
3028. Two bucketfulls of white popcorn.
3029. A jacket for spring weather.
3030. Conversation with my mom and how every time I gather advice and encouragement, strength and prayer like manna from heaven to bring home.
3031. Learning the rhythms of a house with five kids and feeling made for it.
3032. How Craig unplugs the kitchen sink with a 25 ft. snake before breakfast on Saturday.
3033. Jack's announcement at breakfast, "Chives can't grow really big -- like as big as Ellie and Andrew's apple tree."
3034. How I hear him crooning to the baby, "You have really chubby little hands. You're gonna be really strong like your daddy."
3035. How he asks offhand this afternoon, "Hey Mom, at May should I pack up for July?" as he dreams about camping with Daddy this summer.
3036. Jane's request to visit Great-Grammie. "I just love to give Great-Grammie hugs," she says.
3037. How Myra's eyes make happy crescents when she smiles and big moons when she doesn't.
3038. How the neighbors band together to help us level the back yard. How my brother sweats in the afternoon heat to help shovel 12 yards of dirt into place. And how Craig works tirelessly between work and home as if life were made perfect by the good work we've been given.
3039. The good work we've been given.