"I remember when I used to not care about my hair," Lucy says.
"Yeah?" I say. It's chore time, the timer set, the children bustling through the daily dishes, laundry, and sweeping. I stand in front of the big kitchen mirror and rake Myra's curls back into a pony.
"I used to think I could go for a morning run with just not even doing a pony," she says.
"Yeah?" I say.
"I mean, now I at least look," she says. The flurry of morning work, I stop to look at her, the tree-climbing, dirt-scuffing, leaf-rolling child. Her own hair drawn back in something similar, almost, to smooth, I see her measure the gap, try to gauge maturity.
"I know what you mean," I say and then turn to Myra. "Your hair looks nice," I say. She nods, scampers off. Then Lucy and I nod to each other, that sliver of shared grown-up knowledge a glint between us.
Then we are at Costco, the eight of us piling out of the car. It's like a clown car, another and another, we spill out into the parking lot. One of the kids buckles Betsy into a cart, Joe next to her.
"Can you unbuckle this?" Joe says to me.
"No," I say.
"Yeah," I hear Lucy somewhere over my shoulder. "You're supposed to put the booster back in the seat," Lu says. "Myra's in the he-did-it-so-I-can stage," she says. I look back. Lucy nods, purses her lips in an upside down arc, then smiles. There it is again, that perpetual measuring. What surprises me are the crinkles of affection around the corners of her eyes.
Myra skips up to Craig and grabs his hand. Lucy smiles at me, and we all head in.
6093. Craig harnesses Jack's silliness tendencies. He puts him in charge of a church small group. He rises to the occasion. Perhaps every class clown should be in charge of something.
6094. A friend passes on four pineapple lamps to us.
6095. We begin tandem puzzles down by the fire.
6096. Craig returns from a four day business trip. We all breathe a sigh of relief.
6097. Jack buys a dowel rod with his own money and makes two arrows out of it for his homemade bow.
6098. "It's like trying to tag a wild buffalo," Jack says as he corners Betsy and puts a bib on her.
6099. We continue to work on actually harboring kind hearts toward each other, not just acting the role.
6100. I connect with a dear friend over photography and the art behind it.
6101. We find a source to buy organic bulk food for our family. The first load comes in and we tuck it away for use in the coming weeks.
6102. The coffee maker breaks. Craig fixes it.
6103. A neighbor graces us with pears, buckets of them.
6104. Soap. Homemade, real ingredient soap -- a whole batch. Love!
6105. I find myself tireder each nigh, but more faithful in the little things.
6106. "I was sort of awestruck," Jane says, "when Daddy asked if anyone knew what a presidential debate was and no one raised their hand." We await the first presidential debate with anticipation.
6107. We continue to make lots of hot chocolate, fresh, homemade: 12-16 oz. milk, 2 T. cocoa powder, 2 T. sugar -- steam together. It's best with foam on top.
6108. We go plum picking.
6109. Jane tells me that when it comes to politics, you have to agree with people on anything you possibly can or they close up like a box.
6110. I notice Jack has converted some red tubing into a sling shot and another bow.
6111. Less than two months now until the new baby. We settle in with excitement and rest for the next season.