::Our oven has been broken for going on three weeks, which means I have gotten very creative with dinner offerings! I have realized just how much I rely on being able to throw something in the oven mid-day, cook it through the afternoon, and then serve it for dinner (allowing me to do the other many things I seem to need to do directly before dinner, such as homework, washing babies' hands and feet, or getting everyone out of the house for a walk or bike ride to keep people peppy). Some non-oven favorites these past few weeks have included anything in the crockpot, cold dinners (like salads, cheese plates and vegetables, or boiled eggs), and then a few really fast dinners like gnocci, warmed up meatballs, and broccoli. To tell you the truth, I've sort of found my oven free groove, I think!
::Clara has some very strong feelings about fashion choices. Primarily, left to her own devices, her fall wardrobe would consist entirely of one of her older sibling's pajamas (preferably Hugo's), a bathing suit, or her own birthday suit. She is actually sort of a genius when it comes to finding these things in the house, and once dressed in an actual baby outfit will immediately disappear upstairs, triumphantly returning with a bathing suit top, a set of pajamas, and a big smile on her face (clearly, it was simply a mistake she wasn't dressed in these things from the get go, right?!). Dorothy shares these preferences but seems a little less stubborn about it all. If you ever see one of the twins wearing something *other* than the above mentioned choices, know that it involved a great deal of cajoling, convincing, distraction, and possibly bribery.
::Hugo has started preschool at a lovely Montessori school, which means that the house is very quiet for a couple of hours every morning, he is exceptionally interested in helping around the house (thank you, Montessori method!), and he is officially growing up! It's always so fun to see each of our children "go out into the world" in their own little ways, seeing how they interact with adults and kids, which activities they enjoy, and how they start to cultivate friendships and interests.
It feels like the weather really wants to start cooling down around here. We will have a couple of brisk mornings followed by a few really hot days. When the mornings are cool, the big kids come down in the morning and immediately build a little nest for themselves, and it feels best to be in a sweater-- last weekend, we even had the outdoor fireplace going in the morning, and it was perfect. Needless to say, I am ready for fall to come!
Ben's parents are visiting for a couple of weeks, and we've been loving their company. They've had a pretty tough couple of years, and it amazes me how much love and patience they always have to share with all of us. It is always a gift to find inspiration from those who have lived through more of life, seen more joys and sorrows, and have yet emerged with a strong sense of faith and purpose. I always want to sit and take notes, because these things should be goals for all of us, right?
Are you guys as excited as I am about the Pope's visit?! I love this guy, not only because he is the spiritual leader of our church, but just because he is so authentically Catholic, lovingly and eloquently upholding the core orthodox teachings of our church (am I the only one who's puzzled by all these people on every possible side of the political spectrum who are outraged by things he's said? Catholic teaching, you guys. It's pretty constant, no surprises). I'm sort of bummed I'm not on the East coast to soak in the atmosphere and energy, but I'm watching closely and praying for this visit!