A Clipped-In Marriage

My in-laws pulled in at 7:30am to pick up our kids for a breakfast date. After saving my birthday money in 2019 and looking for almost a year, we ended up buying a Giant Liv mountain bike from my neighbor. It’s a Cadillac. I named her the Pinky Pie Express.

Spence and I took advantage of early morning childcare and decided to take her out for spin this morning. My maiden voyage on the PPE had me calculating how long it had been since I’d last mountain biked. 18 months. And Probably 18 months or longer before that. My last true recollection of mountain biking with Spence was shortly after we moved to Circle C and a grandparent stayed with the kids so we could go play. I remember we jumped into the neighborhood pool at the end of that ride. It was delightful.

I felt rusty today, but remembered the countless days we’d weaved through trails throughout Austin early in our marriage. It was sweet to think that we were doing this same thing 12 years ago and how differently things look now than they did back then. I am so thankful for the great trails within riding distance of our house. I’m grateful that Spence leads the way. And I am grateful for the opportunity to cover so much ground, to see so much beauty, and to push my body in a way that requires my full attention. I always thought something like yoga or rock climbing would have to be that for me, but when I’m clipped in and gripping those handlebars, I really can’t have anything else on my mind but the trail right in front of me.

It was a cool morning and I was rusty, but I was also surprised by my muscle memory. My body remembers hairpin turns, rock gardens, steep downhills and gnarly climbs. Yes, I’m older now (I’ll actually be pushing 40 a month from now), but it’s still in there. And when we pulled to the side to let an older woman pass going the other way, I thought, I want to do this! I want to be out here as long as I can. I don’t want to look at my watch or be in a workout class glancing up at the clock every five minutes to see when it’s over. I want to be outside, playing in nature with my husband and children. I don’t want to get too excited, but Spence told me he and Brooks biked the same route we took this morning just a few weeks ago. Sabra has the endurance, Brooks has the skill, so I’m rooting for us to be a biker family.

In honor of this foray back into a sport that used to be so central to our lives, I thought I would dig up my first ever published piece. It was actually published in a journal and then later in an anthology, so I guess we could say it was double-published. It’s all about biking and us. It was written long ago, there are a few errors, but no one has been my cheerleader in writing or in life like my husband. To Spence!

Seeing Double

Going into the play date, I knew we both lived off Slaughter Lane. So when their mom mentioned car trouble, I offered to pick up these kinder and 1st grade siblings who line up perfectly with my own kids of the same age. Only when I plugged the address into Google Maps did I realize they lived on EAST Slaughter Lane. It’s a big city and this road pretty much runs the length of it. And while Austin is the land of plenty, but for the most part, anything EAST is poor or poorer.

I drove across the bottom of Austin, eyes peeled for a big apartment complex because their address contained Apt. 254. Only when I turned into a sea of modular homes did I realize we were in a mobile home community. I weaved my way through dumpy double-wides and several very well taken care of ones. Driveways were populated with everything from shiny rimmed Mercedes to minivans to old Ford trucks on blocks. This was only my second time in a mobile home community. Early in college I accompanied my great uncle to visit my dad’s sister. And she lived in, you guessed it, a double-wide. My dad’s family came from nothing. And while my dad hit it big in oil (and then later lost much of that), my aunt was still living the way she grew up. I spent the night in that home. It was clean and well cared for, but these people were poor. I was 18 at the time.

Fast forward 20 years and I pulled up to my second double-wide. When I pulled into their driveway, I breathed a huge sigh of relief that she hadn’t dropped them off at our house. We live in a nice neighborhood. It’s not a wealthy neighborhood, but it is a desirable one and we were happy to be able to move there seven years ago.

And while we did move to our neighborhood for one of the best public elementary schools in AISD, we ultimately took a chance on a new classical charter school that opened when our oldest was entering kinder. That’s how we are friends with these two adorable East Austin siblings; charter schools don’t have neighborhood boundaries. Something I love about our school is that there are wealthy kids, average kids, poor kids and very poor kids. Some kids get vouchers for uniforms and eat breakfast and lunch at school because that may be the only food they get. I like this. Spence and I grew up in very diverse schools and we want our kids to know that there is more to the world than this privileged bubble we live in. I taught at a private classical charter school before having children and I liked it (it sort of felt like summer camp, but you geek out on a subject…English for me). But these schools are usually Christian and very expensive. While we are Christian, we are not wealthy. So when we saw that we could get this kind of education tuition-free, we jumped on it.

Our charter school is the opposite of our church and West Austin as a whole, where we often feel bottom rung. Lexuses and Teslas fill most parking lots and the amount of private school tuition paid doled out annually in this city could run several African villages. But I want in. I want the right car and the right clothes, the right education for my children and the right vacations. I want money and all the comforts it brings. We are fine, but we are not rich. But somewhere deep down, I believe money will give me all I need. So I was instantly put in my place when I stepped onto the linoleum floor to collect our little friends from the other side of town.

I almost felt ashamed when I looked around, trying to find some sort of decorating theme. We really do have so much, but I measure myself against the most advantaged people in Central Texas, so clearly, I’m going to come up short every time. I complain about my 8-year-old Highlander, our old carpet and tile, our dated paint and furniture, then I take one trip across the city and walk back into my finely furnished mansion. I’ve been so busy wanting that I totally forgot to be grateful for how much I have.

The play date was sweet. We baked cookies, I fed them lunch, they jumped on the trampoline and closed out the date with a Nerf war. Three hours in, my daughter’s friend said she missed her mom and wanted to go home. So we packed up and headed back east, to the land of little.

We dropped off our friends and as we were leaving the mobile home community my daughter said, “Mommy, can we live here?” I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought for sure they would make a comment about how this neighborhood (if you can even call it that) was not very nice. I thought they may ask if their friends were poor. Nope! They want to live there because it feels like it’s out in the country.

As we drove back towards abundance, it hit me like a ton of bricks. What my kids really care about. What they see. What I really care about. And what I see. And as I caught a glimpse of my fashionable sunglasses in my rear view mirror, I was so convicted. I’m a wannabe. I love bargain hunting and finding high end clothes at a fraction of the cost for my kids and myself. I have plenty of Lulu, OV, Madewell and Free People that I’ve scored at a fraction of its original cost, which may convince you that I could afford to actually shop there. Nope. My kids have North Face and Patagonia, Ugg boots and Smocked dresses that we could never afford that were either given to us or scored second-hand. But I guess I want you to think we can afford that because I’m out there looking for it and wearing it. I put my best labels forward because then maybe I’ll be acceptable.

This explains my unending love for even playing fields of places like camp (where everyone lives in the same neighborhood) and our charter school (where everyone is wearing the same uniform and you don’t know whose were purchased with vouchers). These scenarios expand our vision and expose us to all kinds of people we may otherwise never know; spoiled snobs, salt-of-the-earth-ers, have-nothings. Because I don’t want to live in a bubble with narrow focus, I continue to pray that God will please help me zoom out. May I never lose perspective and may my vision be double-wide.

Death Threats

Last week Spencer threatened to cut off the air supply to my blog if I didn’t write anything. It sat untouched (and probably un-visited) for over a year. Maybe he knows that’s the motivation I need to write again or maybe he just really doesn’t want to spend money on my website if I’m not going to use it. Either way, it’s enough to get me off my tush and back to the page.

So much has happened since I last blogged (I probably owe a year-in-review), but the best part of 2019 has been starting the 2019-2020 school year. Summer was hard. It was good, but we faced some really hard things with our daughter. So I put some new practices and priorities into place as school started and it’s been lovely to sit back and watch God transform this wonk heart into what He’d prefer it to be. It’s amazing how trial and error can get us to where we want or need to be. I spent so much of last year trying to sketch out what this year should look like. I need this job and this Bible study on this day. In the end, I’m doing NONE of the things I thought I would be doing. Not one! Instead, I am a Room Mom for my First Grader’s class, attending a monthly art’s luncheon at my church, writing again and I even picked up my guitar. I’ve been on the greenbelt even though we are STILL waiting for that first cool front. And I feel more alive than ever.

I’ve watched my best friend surrender sleep to wake up and seek The Lord each morning and it has motivated me to do the same. I truly see God molding and fashioning her heart with this daily sacrifice and laying down of wants (like my want to sleep!) and I long for that. More than anything, I want a contentment that only God can provide. And after 38 years of humaning, I’m pretty sure that’s the only way I can find it. I have to start out my day surrendered and confident in who I am and Whose I am. I think the most beautiful part of that is my kids seeing me seek each morning. Out of this devotional has come another beautiful rhythm in our lives. Since the kids eat breakfast for ten minutes each morning, I’ve decided to use that chewing quiet time to read the Children’s Bible to them. I have them. They are buckled in to their sustenance and they listen to me. I do not want to let this habit go now that I’ve established it. Not only do they ask for another story every day, but I am praying with them more and seeing that they will not pick up this seeking life by osmosis. I MUST be intentional about showing them who Jesus is each day. That life is about being more than a good person and that we live on grace. I have got to parent on purpose or I will be waving them both off at age 18 hoping maybe they heard something good at church or youth camp. No. It’s not enough. They have to see me living out my faith, not just offering lip service.

So I seek. And a sweet little moment like the one above happens here and there. Spence walks in on Sabra and me sitting in our club chairs before dawn. “I’m reading my Bible,” she says to Spence as he leans down to give her a goodbye kiss.

My heart grows five times in size as I see this 5 year old copying what she sees her mom doing. I don’t want her to copy my beauty regimen or my style, I want her to copy this seeking life. This! This is what it’s all about. May my children remember hearing truth each morning before the walked out into the world and may I never forget that is exactly what I need all the days I live.

On Beeswax

What other people think of me is none of my business. This holds true for my writing, my running and just plain old me. Some people simply aren’t going to like you. My mom told me that awhile back and it kind of hurt my feelings, but was also a little bit of a relief. I shouldn’t have to waste my valuable, limited time on people who aren’t interested.

I think my biggest fear is that I’m not the real deal, whatever that is. My fear is that I’m just a mediocre human being and doing. My writing is crappy because I don’t practice enough. I haven’t picked up my guitar in over a year, and while I run a decent pace, I’m nowhere near Boston Qualifying speed. I’m a little funny, but not stand-up comedienne funny. I keep a moderately clean home, but don’t look too closely. I’m a decent friend, but I rarely go above and beyond outside of birthdays. And while I did step up to be a room mom this year, I’m pretty sure I’m just a space filler facilitating a few things that need to be done.

I look normal (save for the vitiligo patches). I have no special skills, except that I like hearing people’s stories. But the one thing that does make me special is that I have no way of making sense of this world without Jesus. Not religion or church, but this man who flipped sense and religion on its side. I need this upside-down way of looking at the world because nothing is ever enough, which is hugely relieving to realize Jesus is. And so I hold on to my faith.

If you want to live a miserable life, compare yourself to someone else. God has been so faithful in removing my comparison and delivering to me a contentment I could never give myself. It’s almost astonishing to realize that I am not longing for things the way I have over the last few years. Want. Want. Want. I actually want what I have! Maybe for the first time in life. It also feels like I have plenty to lose, which scares the crap out of me, but being content with what I have is almost a life’s work. And it’s been given to me, like being gifted a good singing voice.

Maybe it’s the neurological stuff that’s been going on with Sabra this year. We are spending a lot of money to help her right now and it’s clear that money won’t fix this. I just want my daughter to have a healthy functional life and somehow in the last few months my priorities have been rearranged. My wants look different than they did in April. My heart does too. And I love that. The Lord has rearranged my priorities as we’ve walked through tics and OCD with our baby girl. There is no thing or thrift store bargain find or 7-minute-mile that will fill my empty places. God must come first in my heart and in my home. Simply put, nothing else will do. And in the end, what other people think of me and us and just none of my beeswax!

I Tri’d

Yesterday morning I woke up in Kerrville, strangely calm and collected, as I dressed for my first triathlon. My first triathlon was actually scheduled for about a month ago. I had the perfect pre-race-day prep, hydrated and got to bed early…until the tummy rumbles hit. At first, I thought the stomach pains were just nerves, but by the time I was flip-flopping on the toilet, I knew it was the stomach flu. I was in bed the entire day of the sprint tri I’d trained all summer for. I’d foolishly signed up for twice that distance about a month after that initial race date, but after the tummy fiasco, I considered bumping down to the sprint distance since I’d never even done a triathlon before. But after a few long rides on the bike, I decided to just go for it. So I did. My friend Dena from my trail running group did an open water swim and some bike rides with me at a lake outside of town in the few weeks before the race. I don’t think I would have gone for the quarter distance without her help and encouragement.

This race felt very different. I didn’t do much prepping, besides taking it easy on Saturday. I went to Kerrville alone to stay with my friend Rachel from family camp. I had lunch with another friend in Fredericksburg on the drive out. I enjoyed her rich company over sandwiches at a cute little small town deli and then hit the race expo. I’ve never felt like such a rookie as I checked in my bike and running shoes at two different transition stations.

Rachel took this picture of me as she dropped me off at the swim start.

I had her write her phone number on my arm in sharpie, just in case. I’m a nervous first-timer here with three F’s on my mind: no Falls, no Flats, just Finish!

I sat at the top of the hill leading down to the swim area and another gal from my trail running group walked by. Karen squatted down and said she likes to do the same thing; take it all in without getting swept up in the race aspect. She reminded me to have fun. When it started drizzling, I really did accept that this is fun and we are all just trying to get to the finish line. Karen says the sport of triathlon is the greatest metaphor for life (and she would know, as she’s done more full Ironmans than I can count). I looked out at the calm river before the storm of swimmers rushed in and thanked God for this beautiful morning, for the breath in my lungs and these body parts that work.

Two by two we stepped up the the swim start by age group and before I knew it, I was out there making my way through the murky river with a bunch of other women under 40. I had a 38 written on the back of my right calf and my race number marker’d down both arms. I looked the part in a borrowed tri suit and bright green swim cap. I flipped on my back a few times when the cloudy water freaked me out, but then I talked myself down with small goals – make it to the next buoy. Just one more. And one more. And then, before I knew it, I was being pulled out of the water by race volunteers to run up a green indoor/outdoor carpet to the bike transition. I threw on my shoes, helmet and bib and hit the road.

Post-swim (yes, I am too cheap to buy race photos)

Nothing makes me feel more childlike than riding a bike with wet hair. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. That post-swim breeze cooling me down was probably my favorite feeling of the triathlon experience. It felt so good to get my legs spinning and finally breathe easily out of the water. The 29-mile bike ride was long and hard. Gusts of wind came and went as light rain fell intermittently. I was so terrified of the wet road portions that I just repeated the words “Don’t. Fall.” But when you bike for nearly two hours, weather conditions vary. The roads dried up here and there, the sun came out and then hid again, another round of drizzle to follow. I was truly scared; it’s frightening to take a corner on a road bike when the roads are wet. I played games with myself to keep my legs pedaling down the road to the next goal and the next. It was hard and I honestly didn’t know if I had that many miles on a bike inside me. But I did. I dug deep, I talked to myself (like a crazy person) and I sang as the rain drops cooled my tired arms. A huge hill on mile 28 dumped us down to the second transition area and I could have screamed, “Weeeeeeeeee!” and kicked up my heels as I rode into the dismount area. I quickly threw on my running shoes after docking my bike and started chipping away at the 10k ahead of me.

I didn’t realize the whole run would be on CEMENT, but it was. The cement path along the river was beautiful. The wind that kept checking in with me on the bike was somehow nowhere to be found on the run. All rain had dried up by this point and it was just hot and muggy. I questioned if I had 6.2 miles left in my body, so I just took it one mile at a time and one water station at a time. These little markers that break up races are everything. And while my Garmin and my body let me know we had definitely gone 6.2 miles, there was still somehow another ½ mile to the finish line. I pushed myself. I didn’t know what my pace was, but I just kept going. And I got there. I crossed the finish line and completed one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

In the end, the swim was 1000m, although my Garmin revealed I can’t swim in a straight line and added about 430m to that, a 29-mile bike ride, and a very hot 10.5k run. I wouldn’t have ordered these conditions, but I can get behind any race that includes BBQ, cold beverages and a tube to float the river after the finish line. It was hard and fun and I’m really glad I had this on my calendar all summer. It’s amazing what we can do if we just tri. Yes, that was cheesy, but so true.

Dena and Karen. Amazing women I’ve come to know through my ladies trail running group.

Summer Love

Right out of the gate, I’m going to say that summer is NOT my jam. The idea of three solid months between school years scares me. The heat is so oppressive that it makes me feel trapped and I just spend all of May freaking out that I can’t possibly mom myself through the three months ahead.

This summer started out with a work weekend out at camp. We had a blast and then it got real on Monday. Like very real. And then we quickly joined the Y thereafter the “real” hit the Williams world, which has been our saving grace for several reasons.

Today, we are one month and two days into summer. I don’t want to get too confident, but I’m going to say that this has been my favorite summer so far. Sure, right out of the gate we had several 100 degree and above days, but that only drove us to the pool. And back. And back, wherein my children are simultaneously improving their swimming skills, cooling off and having a blast, plus they get worn the heck out (win!). Brooks has not only blown me away in the pool, but he straight killed his first 9-4 day camp at Mad Science. He’s never been gone the whole day and I was giving it until Tuesday or Wednesday before we called the whole thing off, but low and behold homeboy freakin’ LOVED every second. Not only was I encouraged that he went all day for an entire week without knowing a soul and LIKED it, but he actually wanted to go. He was pumped up every morning to get back to his experiments. This settled so many fears I have for kindergarten coming up in two (gulp) months.

He also spent a week away at Camp Gigi and loved the VBS at her church. I did not talk to him once! And he was great! Spoiled, to be sure, but just dandy without me.

Back to the Y, I have been able to take Sabra to the downtown Y a few times and walk Town Lake. I’ve scheduled a few coordinating walking dates with friends and enjoyed it so much. I love my city. I love that there are so many beautiful places free and open to the public. I love that I can enjoy the river every single day if I choose. And I love that, at least this year, all the flowers are so vibrant.

The first time I ever saw the agave was in Big Bend National Park in my 20’s. It was immediately my favorite bloom, but I’d never seen one outside of that region. But this summer, they are somehow all over town. I am seeing the agave left and right. The nerd video at Big Bend informed us that this beauty blooms only once and then it dies. This is it. One shot and then goner! And I think about that every single time I pass one. It’s a little sad because they are so beautiful, but also a reminder that we all only really get one shot. This beauty is fleeting. We may bloom now, but it’s short, so wake up. Smell the roses. Or agave!

I simply cannot get over the vibrant colors and lush greens all over town. I usually think of summer as hot and desperate, but the gorgeous blooms along the trail and the shade-providing canopy of trees that covers most of the trail during the summer simply remind me that God’s got it. God has me when life is good and when it’s hard. And right now, it’s good. It’s also 82 degrees outside because it’s been raining. So there’s that too, which may help.

Camp Mommy

Last week I was a mother-of-one. Brooks got the royal treatment at Camp Gigi in San Antonio, so Sabra and I were just two girls on the town. And we had a blast! We swam, ate out and read nearly every children’s book under our roof. I love this girl and I love her age. I love that she remembers every fact she’s ever heard and that her eyes are as blue as the Frio River. She is brave and fun to be around. She does her own thing and makes me want to live more in the moment. I have this 4-year-old for another four months. I will cringe when she turns five because it means my baby is really growing up, but I am beyond thrilled to have two full days with her each week next year before she goes off to kinder. I love this girl something fierce. And I thank God daily that I get to be her mommy.

My Little Wonder Girl!

Life in Death Valley

We’ve been married almost 12 years and I have never once gotten to tag along on a work trip. I always thought it would be dreamy to visit places with Spence and explore a city all day while he was at an important meeting. It never happened though. Until it did! Just a few months ago, I got to wife work freeload for the first time! Spence had a conference in Las Vegas and I got come. I have never wanted to go to LV in my life, but I was all over a week-long break from mom life and totally up for some one-on-one time with my main squeeze.

This was our maiden voyage on a plane and leaving the state since we’ve had children, so it was a pretty big deal. We hit Hoover Dam the first day we flew in and geeked out at the scale and man-power behind this wonder. Finally descending upon The Strip in Las Vegas, we settled into our hotel and I adjusted to the odd beast that is Sin City. I have to admit that I spent the first few days just chillaxing and soaking up the feeling of only having to feed and care for myself. I explored the city some in the morning before it got too hot and witnessed the sad leftovers from the night before. I was offered drugs at 9am and saw actual prostitutes for the first time in my life. If there ever was a city that is the antithesis of what I’m about, it’s LV. By day I lounged and spa’d and read, but by night we got dressed up and ate some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten. Did you know $10 truffle butter exists as a steak topper? It does. And I ate it. And it was scrumptious as all get out!

As fun as luxurious hotels and fancy restaurants can be, natural beauty is more my speed. After the conference was over, we drove out to Death Valley National Park in California. We rented a Jeep and spent the day exploring this place that has the vibe of another planet.

I never would have pictured huge snow-capped mountains in the distance or vibrant colors blooming in the desert, but we saw it all. And it was breathtaking. The vivid colors against this bland backdrop woke up my senses and made me go inward. I thought about how hard parenting is and how often we can feel like teammates or ships passing in the night, but then we take these adventures together and I realize there is no one else I’d rather drive around in a Jeep that plays no music with than this guy. He really is my favorite. And sometimes you have to be in the middle of nowhere to see that. Spencer is my bloom. Life isn’t always easy and a lot of times it’s just downright hard, but I love walking through this world sitting in Spencer’s passenger seat. He’s a control freak and HAS to drive, which is fine with me because I LOVE being a passenger. We laughed and explored and shared this life we started together, almost 12 years ago, in Death Valley. Till death do us part.

Hair Force 1

Haircuts are those things everyone does, but no one breaks down. They should bring a mother to tears seeing all the days, weeks, and months it’s taken for their child’s hair to get to this shaggy point from the last time they sat in that funny car. See, we go to a cheesy kid place where the kids get spoiled and bribed just so someone can chop off their hair. Somehow they WANT to go here. It makes haircuts, which were once a huge, painful ordeal, into a sort-of field trip.

A friend of mine with a third grader informed me that her daughter told her upon leaving this establishment a few months ago that’s she’s grown out of it. So, there you go. There’s a timeline for the annoying kid stuff that you think will last forever.

Things I probably won’t remember about my kids:

  1. How someone always has to go potty the second we get our food at a restaurant (when I am parenting alone).
  2. How they turn down Chick-fil-A to eat grilled cheese at home.
  3. How gross sticky their hands get when they eat lollipops.
  4. How Sabra will eat anything off the floor (like the ice she picked up and kept dropping on the floor at Chipotle today).
  5. How they never had “room time” once they dropped their naps.

Things I will definitely remember:

  1. How much my kids LOVE the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack.
  2. And how haircuts are my reality check that they are growing up before my very eyes.

I see it. And with every haircut, I see it more. All of this is to say that today, I saw my kids grow a little more. And in the midst of all this, I hope they are able to see that I’m growing too. My heart, for sure.

These Are The Days

This is a selfie (did I really just use that word?) I took on a casual run while the kids were at school. It was a nippy, but gorgeous Friday morning and I felt amazing! I’ve learned never to take these runs for granted; I’ve been injured so many times, I now know better.

And this is me wearing a back brace only days later. Because I know running is not sustainable, I often try to get into other things. So I tried out barre. And I threw out my back. It was an awful week of pain and I will never go back. Must we all simply lift weights? I want a more fun option. I just want to run and hike and play. Do I really have to make my bones stronger? Ugh.

And so…Barnes and Noble is our literal haven in times of trouble.

Two weeks later and the pain is minimal. Don’t get me wrong, it was TERRIBLE for days. I could hardly move, so even a walk sounded dreamy. Also, something awful happens to my brain when I get hurt. I think it’s called depression or something. I start researching vitiligo and seeing pictures of my future and it’s all downhill from there. I think the best part of feeling physically better is getting back outside. Being outside is tricky for me because of the sun, but winter is kind to me.

This morning my children slept until 7:30, nothing short of a miracle, and I found myself already feeling nostalgic for this sweet time when we don’t have to rush to school in the morning. Every morning after breakfast, the kids play in the living room. I drink my coffee and load their backpacks while they get along or argue (or both). Slowly but surely, they get dressed and I do too. We often make it out the door with enough time to swing by the little free library. None of this is special, but it’s what I will remember. I will remember the crazy house we drive by 3 months out of the year (because that’s how long it takes them to put up and take down their 25,000 decorations). I will remember lingering at the SHPC playground after pick up because we have nowhere else to be. We are living slow right now. My house is wreck, I may never be caught up on laundry and I have no clue what I’m cooking for dinner. But, man, I love my kids. I love that Brooks is a Lego-maniac and Sabra quite possibly knows more about dinosaurs than her brother at this point. I love that Sabra pretends she knows the words to songs and just blurts out sounds. I love that Brooks is off-roading on his bike and that he and his sister will play out back until the sun goes down (note: adult must be present for outdoor play). The days have been long, but they are coming to a close. Elementary school is around the corner and life is about to shift. BUT, we still have about 8 more months, so we will soak it up until then!