The first day of school. When I see this photo, I can't help but think how those first days of school come and go, year after year. The nervous excitement, the newness and anticipation. She was so very ready to start school again. And perhaps we were all ready for that bit of structure and rhythm after summer's freedom.
The pattern is the Charlotte Apron Dress from The Cottage Mama. This apron style was only way I could figure out how to incorporate that bit of delightfully odd and fantastical elephant fabric by Tina Givens into a little-girl dress. She has been calling this dress her special school dress. It is particularly twirly and inspires elaborate slow-motion dance routines, with waving arms and a dramatically tilted chin.
Pretty soon he'll be spiffing up for his first day of school as well. For now, he just misses his big sister.
This guy. So much snuggly sweetness in such a compact and adorable little package. He's just bursting with personality these days. He has so much to say. He notices. He asks questions. He fills our days with humor and joy and delight and loud, high pitched song. To say that his mama, daddy, and sister adore him is a tremendous understatement.
These photos are from a recent farm visit. The kids got to pick (and nibble) vegetables from the garden, including that monstrous okra that Owen is digging into below. He loved the chickens. Is there anything better than kids and chickens? He was all giggles and wiggles when they were let out of their barn - petting them and feeding them scraps from the garden and yelling, Hi Chicken, over and over again. Naturally, he wanted to bring one home.
Juni was more intimidated by the flurry of fifty-some chickens and turkeys flapping all around us and stayed quite out of their way. But then she managed to witness one little lady lay a pretty blue-green egg right in front of her. And she fell in love as well.
The last bits of our summer have been lovely and crazy in many ways. We've had long travels and many gatherings and the start of a new school year.
And the whole time I've been trying to wrap my head around my (part-time) return to work. I could write pages about this subject, about motherhood and expectations, about the value of work in the home, about guilt and time and nurturing and all these things that mamas juggle every day. About why I felt like I need to return to work and why I feel conflicted now. But I've had these conversations a hundred times in my head already and I'm tired of them.
Like every year, I look to Autumn with a sigh of relief. Summer's heat and long hours make me feel tense and untethered and I'm glad that our days have structure and rhythm again. I'm glad to begin the slow contracting, the breathing in, of the season.
Juniper is glad that school has started and that acorns are just beginning to fall. She spends her days dancing her fairy dances and creating elaborate princess costumes and pretending to be a Super Bunny (to the rescue!). Her days are full-to-the-brim, with energy and curiosity and, often, frustrations. She always has something to say. She tells us delightfully convoluted stories and treats us to long, winding explanations for the simplest of things. She always trusts her own opinions and will argue her point-of-view interminably (yes, but I don't think so, mama). Her little-girl world is all rainbows and pixie dust and joyful movement and we are lucky to have a glimpse of it.