1 one year old
1 two year old
5 books (because sure i'll read that many on our trip?)
a change of clothes for each day (bryan and me)
3x changes of clothes for each day (susan and june)
untold numbers of ziplock-baggies filled to brim with veggie-straws
and room to spare (hello box-of-stuff to take to my friend so we can exchange boxes-of-stuff we don't want like we always do! its like a hand me down christmas). i survey the car, proud and approving of my husband's compact-car-defying tetris-skill abilities and think we can put off buying a mini-van until kid#3. each cubby and nook is crammed full of snacks, ba-bas (for when june won't take a sippy--most of the time), sippies (for when we're hopeful), hand sanitizer, sunglasses (our girls are particular about sunglasses).
then we hit the road. an eight hour trip we made longer by meandering and visiting friends along the way. our niece was dedicated this weekend, so we drove up to kentucky/nearly/ohio to see her all bedecked and blessed. we hadn't visited that part of our family in that new house yet, and i was completely taken with the beautiful rolling hills-become-mountains, the isolated fields, the white-postcard-perfect church steeple.
staying with three different families, all of which have two young children each, i was intrigued by every moms different way of doing things, different ways of adding artfully to her home. i get so many ideas from other moms. C taught me this little trick of making arguing girls giveaway a toy to goodwill when the fights get ugly (tucking that in my back pocket for when both girls start talking--and inevitably fighting...), and none of them blinked at june's banshee-like shrieks of anger (or happiness--she's just always loud), and none of them seemed too put out by my children waking up obscenely early, as they always do.
being a good hostess is an area i've been working to improve on the past couple of years. hosting home-group at our house did a lot to change my anti-social ways, but i still struggle with feeling like everything has to be absolutely PERFECT to have people over. what's funny is, i know that my friends and family don't expect my house to be perfect or mind when it isn't.
one of my friends we stayed with has a beautifully organized home, and another had a beautifully blossoming garden, and another french-braided and painted toddler fingernails like a pro.
that firstborn daughter in me wants Straight A's--to do it all--when, as a regular old human creature, that isn't possible. i will likely never be able to make a quiche before i've had coffee--or even talk to you, sorry. i don't know if my thrifting abilities will ever max out my daughter's closets with princess dresses. but there are a few things i'm good at as a mom--tent-building for example. i make crazy-awesome pillow-fort-tents.
but the point in seeing and admiring each other mom's particular art of motherhood is to humbly learn from them and to live in community with them. mothering, being a wife, living--its an art, and there is room enough for different kinds of art, even for my C+ cooking skills and B french-braiding skills.
an introvert, i still see how community with other believers is as life-giving and soul-nurturing as time alone, as the stolen minutes i have right now, settled on my own particular spot of our den, not our office where i'm supposed to do my best thinking.
tomorrow i'll do my own particular work of settling us back into routine--unpacking and washing rumpled clothes, ironing out home-is-boring attitudes, building elaborate, knotted at the corners, butterfly-patterned and pink-plaid. and if you'd like to stop by, i can teach you too.