No smoke for three days now! Two days ago it was overcast, but yesterday and today the sky has been the clearest, brightest blue I've seen in at least a month. Alleluia! I am so grateful to be able to take the kids outside or leave all of the windows open to cool down the house without worrying about the air quality. We ate supper on the deck Thursday night, one of the first times we've done so all summer, and it was just lovely out.
All of my siblings are in town right now, and we had the whole family (plus my brother's friend who is up for the summer) over for supper Thursday. Matt grilled chicken sausages and beer brats, I baked a double batch of buns, and we all enjoyed a picnic-y meal of pasta salad, green salad, coleslaw, and my sister's individual strawberry shortcakes. Since they were all out of town on the 4th and Little Bear's birthday, it was good to have everyone over for an overdue cookout.
I always think it's going to be too much work to have the whole family over (I have six younger siblings), and it does take work to prepare the food and clean the house, but I have never ever regretted inviting them (or anyone else). Learning to extend hospitality to others in a way that's genuinely oriented toward making them feel welcome and comfortable, rather than making me stressed about my house and my cooking and my kids and how others perceive me, has been difficult but so good for me. And we all enjoy having company, so this learning to let go of having everything "perfect" has been a blessing.
Yesterday morning, Little Bear and I made The Pioneer Woman's Everything Cookies while Kit napped. Now I'm pretty much constitutionally incapable of following a recipe ad litteram, so we did make a couple of adjustments; my current batch of homemade granola is full of almonds, pecans, cashews, and sunflower seeds, so I didn't add any nuts when they were called for later in the recipe. We don't have dried cherries, but do have both flame and golden raisins along with the called-for dried apricots. And of course I couldn't help making half of the flour whole wheat. They are really good, though! And as her last instruction directs, I'm definitely going to "eat and feel not guilty" because they really are full of good things.
One of the best things about Matt's job at the university is the benefits package: he was able to take three full weeks of paternity leave to stay home as we all adjusted to having Kit, remembering what it's like to have a baby in the house and figuring out for the first time how to parent two kids at once. Thursday was his last day of leave, so he was back in the office Friday (thus, my Seven Quick Takes going up on Saturday...). It would be ridiculous to pretend that we've actually figured everything out already, but the first day of having both Kit and Little Bear all to myself certainly didn't go as badly as I'd half expected it to.
Okay, there is one thing I definitely haven't figured out doing outnumbered yet: errands. Going to the grocery store is fine, and I've taken both kids with me several times already, but there are a few things that have been sitting on my to-do list for a solid week now which I would have taken care of the first day if I had only Little Bear in tow: picking up a package at the post office, dropping some things off at the consignment shop, trading in some books for credit at the used bookstore, going through the thirft store to try to find some shirts that actually fit and will let me feed Kit... All of those errands together would have been a tiring but manageable trip to town with Little Bear; with him and Kit, wrangling them both through even one of those sounds overwhelming-to-impossible.
Tummy time today quickly turned into Daddy and Little Bear racing hotwheels cars while Kit watched and squawked at them. I love seeing Matt playing with the kids, and Little Bear excited about interacting with his little sister.
Seven Quick Takes is hosted this week at A Knotted Life; don't forget to stop on by!