The Friday morning before we left for Vermont, I was sitting in a booth at the BTC, doing some bonafide work. (A 401k I rolled into an IRA had been sitting as cash waiting for an opportune moment to reinvest. If you recall this particular Friday, it was a good day to do some American gambling. Second aside: the folks that passed the legislation to "encourage" a significant portion of the average person's retirement savings into the stock market are slimey, immoral bastards, but obviously good at what they do.)
There I was, sitting in a peaceful booth in a good smelling, comfortable grocery store, and these two adorable girls came running back, grabbed books from the give and take bookshelf, and crawled into the seats across from me. Chloe on the left, Leah on the right.
That's amazing, that I have that kind of relationship with these beautiful children of our friends. Their mother walked back and told me what she was planning for the day, and I asked her if she might pick up some things for me while in Memphis. She said no problem, and left them for me at the store later int he day.
A dinner at home with the family, home made pizza, all ingredients from the BTC or our garden, (the pizza crusts were from Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, who makes all the bread for the BTC.) Fresh flowers from the garden.
I think this was Friday evening, the kids wandering the yards with me as I poisoned red ant piles in preparation for Caspian's birthday party on Sunday. They're lying down side by side, yammering about the moon above them.
Saturday morning, the farmer's market in downtown Water Valley. Yes, that's a stand up base under a magnolia tree. Sitting on a bench next to Mickey, enjoying the music and snacking on the fresh bread we just bought from the wife of the sitting guitar player. The kids coming back from their racing around the ginat magnolia tree, or visiting with any of the dozen vendors, all of who they have a personal connection with from some other part of their lives. This happens a block from the BTC, and two blocks from our house.
Setting up for the boy's 3rd birthday, this is a tent I bought from our neighbor. She had a yard sale, I saw this tent sitting in a bag on the ground, and a couple days later sent her an email asking if it sold and how much she was asking for it. $10 later we have a two room tent, which the kids, and all their friends, had a blast in.
The epic water slide. That's a roll of tyvek I had lying around. I just kicked it down the hill and spiked the top and the edges with tent stakes.
The Sunday afternoon nap before the birthday party. Louie the kitten is either very forgiving after his haircut form that little angel, or that little angel will wake up and secretly take scissors to that cat. They're both fine.
Birthday boy. Three! I swear during this nap he grew an inch.
Alexe, and the cake and cupcakes she made for her boy. Alexe is not the baker in the family, but on birthdays she insists on making the effort for her family. I get cookies, which in the last 10 years have gone from charred thin wafers, to chewy, tasty, exotic chocolate/nut/spice blends. Annaliese gets cupcakes. Caspian apparently gets a cake AND cupcakes.
I really like our kitchen. And that girl in it.
Good friends. For the past three weekends, this crowd has been gathering for a different child's birthday party at a different house. (There's something about labor day weekend...)
The epic water slide.
Again, comfortable, close group. This is our village, something I never knew to look for.
Birthday boy with his mama. And his new space shuttle. The cabin is finally clean enough to install this here, though it's been super fun to watch Caspian make flying sounds and run around the clearing with it.
We left for Vermont the next morning at 6 am.
All of this is to say, I really love our life in Water Valley, our circle of friends, the quality of our time, for us and the kids.
It overwhelmed me a little bit as we prepared to leave for a few month. I'm very happy to be in Vermont now, but have no hesitation about going back to our home in the fall.
Yes, I'm aware how blessed we are.