"Are you sure you got enough?" I query Jack and his empty bowl. "You have to feed those big muscles you're growing."
"Show us your muscles," Lu chimes.
"Yeah, yeah," the girls giggle.
He flexes, all elbows and baby biceps.
"You better go get another bowl," I say. He complies. It slides down in a sluice of boy gobbling.
Breakfast the next day, Lu stirs oatmeal, while I spread jam on toast.
"One time, when Jack held his muscles up," she tries to describe flexing, "and I held mine up, I said to Jack, Mine look flimsy." The spoon gummed in an oatmeal rut she pauses. "Like it actually looked like you could break mine OFF." Her eyebrows arced in sideways parenthesis, we nod.
"Yep," I say. "He's a boy."
He's a boy. When the new bunk bed came home, Jack helped Craig move it in. A colleague needed someone to deliver a couch; Jack and Craig made it happen.
Over the summer, he and his muscles became a little older, a little more distinguished, a little more man-ish. In the curve of a single season the difference between boy and girl pronounces itself even more. Delightful.
5648. One tooth gone, Lucy works to loosen more teeth. "Maybe it's like tomatoes," she says. "You pick one, and others start to ripen.
5649. My sweet sis posts pictures of our recent photo shoot. Once again she teases out the essence of our family.
5650. My small group settles into the fall routine. I treasure the time with them.
5651. I come down with a terrible chest cold, and yet everyone pulls together to make life work.
5652. Craig, spur of the moment, takes the family to dessert: frozen yogurt.
5653. I find the perfect camisoles to cover my growing belly.
5654. "Hurry, hurry, Myra," Jane cheers. "Just TRY. You'd be surprised how much mercy Mom gives to people who TRY and how much mercy she doesn't give to people who don't try."
5655. We head down to Craig's hometown for an old fashioned shindig. The children sprawl out to watch Gramma, Uncle, and Cousins play bluegrass in the park.
5656. The day runs long and Craig's mom offers dinner for the seven of us, plus other extended family. With almost no prep, she sets a whole spread.
5457. We linger in the refreshment of family.
5458. Craig cans more plums -- all on his own.
5459. Another week of hard work and Jane sees again the source of all free time: hard work.
5460. Craig comes home from church with a surprise: my favorite cheese. Cheese and chocolate: the language of pregnancy.
5461. We finally settle into the counterpoint of work and play. It's a lolling river to carry us forward.