Maternity leave.

Hugo and Maisie,

You are now three years old and four months old, respectively. A week from now, we'll face one more milestone in my journey of letting you go.

Hugo, we've talked about me going back to work in the quiet of the evening, when all you want is for me to rest my head next to yours on your pillow. I recite a mantra you've started to recognize: "we are brave, smart, and kind; we can do hard things." Sometimes we do the hard work in our minds, sometimes right at home, and sometimes in the world outside our door. This summer, I've watched you tackle new experiences and challenges with strength beyond your years.

Maisie, like your mama, you want to grow up quickly. You take on each new thing early, and you're impatient with basic necessities - eating, sleeping, getting dressed. I suspect that, like me, you'll need to be reminded that every moment of your life is a gift, and one worth savoring. I've rediscovered this every time you fall asleep in my arms or learn a new sound or look up at me with your big, toothless grin.

These are the things we've taught each other.

Here are some other things I know:
You have big, wonderful adventures ahead of you.
The ones I witness with my own eyes will be a gift.
The ones I don't, a story worth telling.

I will let you go and grow and discover all my life, because I love you so.

your mama


Peach picking.

One added benefit of maternity leave is that it's allowed time for us to build some deeper relationships with those in our community. We've been given the gift of time, and with it, we've gone peach picking and museum exploring and library hopping. I've enjoyed nights out with girlfriends and relished the solidarity in sisterhood.

These are the women and families that have rallied alongside us in our new chapter - meeting us where we're at and understanding when we need to duck out for naps, snacks, quiet. That we have found our people again here, that we continue to build fibers into the relationships at a distance, that we can laugh or cry and say, "me, too": I can't put a price on this.


Blake turns 31.

It was a quiet celebration this year - a simple Sunday spent like every other. He rocked the baby at church, we waited in line for the best brunch in town, and the boys watched Star Wars through the afternoon.

In the evening, Blake's parents came over to babysit while we went out. Dinner, with accompaniment from the concert on the Green. A walk to the river and back, one 31-year-old hand in mine. It's a good year for him and for us. We're lucky to have another go around the sun.



While out West, we took the kids to Disneyland, because obviously. And if anyone is wondering, Disneyland with a three-year-old is just about the most fun anyone can have. Hearing Hugo yell, "LIKE-A-QUEEN" (Lightning McQueen) when he saw his favorite car come through the parade made it worth every penny.


Newport Beach.

While Blake was conferencing, the three of us busied ourselves with mornings at the pool, trips to the nearby Fashion Island and visits with family and friends. We had some mishaps along the way - a lost stuffed animal, nighttime meltdown and an epic tantrum from both kids - but there was sunshine and there was good conversation and we could see the boats drifting in and out from our hotel window. And really, what more can you ask for?


Maisie meets Pacific.

We followed Blake to a conference in Newport Beach last week, and introduced Maisie to the Pacific while we were there. The water was unusually warm - an incredible 78 degrees - and we considered staying the week, the month, maybe even setting down roots. California is tricky like that. She'll charm you with her temperate days, friendly faces (how could you not be in a perpetually good mood here?) and inexpensive vegetarian meals.