Having visitors is the very best excuse to get out and see new places! The big girls have had the week off of school, and that paired with Omi and Granddad visiting has meant lots of trips to parks, museums, brunch places, and natural wonders (just the regular tourist stuff, right?!). There was a big neighborhood parade (so cute!), some new-to-us local parks. We live ridiculously close to some redwood groves, and visiting has been on our "to do" list ever since we moved here. I think if I knew how overwhelmingly magnificent, how at once ethereal and majestic and wholly earthy they were, I would have gone the second we got here! Seriously, I loved being among those redwoods, and there is something mind blowing about standing in the midst of these towering beings that are thousands of years old. Wow.
I have been thinking lately about this fruitful family of ours, partly because I'm going to be needing another baby chick for my favorite necklace, which Ben got me when the twins were born. We're marching right along here, you guys! But honestly, there are very few days when I'm not reminded in some way of the fact that this family of ours is quite unusual. Just yesterday we were riding our bikes (Ben, Zosia and Lily on a bike, Hugo on a balance bike-- that kid can go full speed, or as he would say "double speed!!", and me on my bike with one twin in a baby seat and one twin in a trailer) in downtown San Jose. We had gone on a late afternoon trip to the Discovery Museum, met Ben up, and gone for a leisurely ride through the downtown, by the art museum, park with fountains, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. At one moment Ben and I looked back at the kids and saw that the hipster on the sidewalk was smiling and taking photos of our family. Ha! We spent the rest of the ride debating whether we are instagram gold or simply a freak show. Maybe somewhere in between? :-)
Now that I'm wearing this pregnancy on my sleeve, or on my belly, as you would have it, it's fun to respond to the question of "Is this your first?" with a relaxed, "No, it's my sixth." You can literally see the incomprehension and confusion take hold of the poor stranger's face as they try to digest the information they have just received because hey, we're young! We have a lot of kids! I am happy to report that every single person I can think of has responded, after their incredulity has worn off, with either encouragement or an anecdote of some great big family they have known. It's nice to know that when you enter the world with kindness and open arms, it sometimes (often?) responds in kind.
And speaking of welcoming the world with kindness and open arms, for those of you who, like us, don't actually have cable TV and didn't get the chance to follow the papal visit as closely as you might have liked to, set aside 20 minutes and watch this homily from the World Meeting of Families. My dad passed it along, saying he found it "absolutely fantastic." I watched every word, and I agree! Let's create a space for beauty, truth, and goodness in our families where we can open our arms to the incredible creative power of God. Love it!