This and that, but mostly them.

I’m writing this from the kitchen sink.

Actually, that’s not true. I just really love this book, and that is the opening line, and I think of it often.

But I am writing it in view of the kitchen sink, perched on the counter with goldfish crunching underfoot and laundry running downstairs and the baby has no pants on. Which is to say- it’s almost dinner time, so things are chaotic, but everyone is happily playing a few feet from me for the moment so I decided to make a noble effort to write something. I started playing the Nutcracker music today, breaking my Thanksgiving start time for Christmas music, and it just seemed appalling to jump from a summer post to Christmas.

With the fall, and more job shifts for me (not a new job, just doing it in person for the first time ever since I took the job during COVID), and Henry starting a university model school for kindergarten which also means homeschool two days a week- this fall has flown by. So in lieu of a cohesive catchup, here are the things we have been loving lately.

This tea. I have loved it a long time, but every fall I rediscover it and it feels freshly wonderful. We had a massive and excessively/ pointlessly fancy tea party for the girls and some mother-daughter friends this fall and I’ve been pulling china cups back out and making a pot of it ever since.

These jeans. They are the perfect mom-jean-but-not-too-hideaous-stretchy-but-structured blend.

This app. I am trying not to be dramatic but this app has changed my life. Feeding our family, planning the meals, making them, keeping track of recipes I try – it has slowly been sapping my soul. Now, I have EVERYTHING in this app. All the recipes stripped of the obnoxious adds and stories and videos and scrolling. Sorted based on logical categories to me like “Veggies Etta will Eat” or “No one complained about this.”

Some of the recipes I now have readily accessible without having to wade through extra junk? These biscuits, these tacos, these hidden veggie enchiladas, this gnocchi sheet bake, this King Ranch chicken.

This upholstery cleaner. Watching completely brown water come out of my supposedly cleanish couch was mesmerizing and disturbing all at once.

Facebook Marketplace. Since last we spoke I redid our whole bedroom spending almost no money thanks to the fine people of the DC area wanting to offload amazing stuff.

This show and this show and this show. Because cozy evenings and a good show while I grade or plan lessons is one of my favorite things. But also… now we really need a new show. Any good recs?

This overnight cream and this redness correction cream that I use in place of makeup.

And then of course, the more important things, the things that I can’t link or offer or sell you on or capture but I love them so much that it alternates between crushing and freeing me.

The way Henry draws people right now, all angular and sticky and always in family units like us.

The way that Etta has discovered princesses and fancies herself one, only wanting dresses and costume-like ones at that.

The way that Maddie smiles and scrunches her nose up when she attack hugs all of us every morning.

The way that Etta discusses bedtime snuggles, sometimes announcing when I try to get up that we have only done the “stem of the snuggle.”

Maddie’s belly. Her pudgy legs and delicious cheeks and still dimpled fists.

The family dance parties. The movie nights. The lazy Saturday mornings.

How it felt watching James coach Henry’s tee-ball team.

The way that the kids run laps around our main floor to the William Tell Overture every night, and how Maddie joins in now and sometimes James and I hop in and they squeal so excitedly.

Photosynthesis and Monet’s waterlilies and ant farms and the things Henry teaches me as he learns, new to him and new again to me in his joy.

That he wants to be an engineer and she wants to be a princess and she wants to just be held, and they are so full of dreams but every single one includes us being together because separation, diverged lives, absence is intolerable to them, unimaginable and repugnant.

The independence they all want right now, the way it shows in so many ways. And the need they still have, the fact that I am still the safest place.

This, this is what is best.

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