Enjoying everyday good stuff

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The last few days have included a few things I’ve really been looking forward to, but upon reflection I can see that they’re not all that big, but rather the kind of everyday joys we hoped to get a lot more of in this new Michigan life.

Last week both Kristin and I decided to take a day off and accompany Jonah on a field trip. His preschool goes on field trips all the time, but this is only the second time we’ve allowed him to go (parents have to leave car seats, and I hate taking it out and putting it back in again, so he only goes if we can take him ourselves). This time it was for Party In The Park, a library event that features dozens of readers going from blanket to blanket (all packed with kids) and reading to them. Lots of the readers were dressed in costume as the book characters they were reading, and it was SO MUCH FUN. No, he didn’t need both of us to drive him, but we both really wanted to go.

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I mean, it kind of felt like celebrity spotting.

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The field trip only went until about 11:30, so we took advantage of the afternoon and went out to lunch and decided to spend the rest of the day planning a summer mini-vacation to northern Michigan. The day felt surprisingly long and full of quality time. I think that we both needed it, both in terms of the special time with Jonah and the time to make plans we’re excited about without interruption.

This weekend was also on my list of things-to-look-forward-to, because it was the annual art fair and Do-Dah Parade downtown. You have to understand, this was a BIG weekend in my childhood memory. I come from a family of art lovers, and we always spent a lot of time at the art fair, but before that we always grabbed a good spot to watch the parade go by. I remember the Do-Dah Parade being chock-full of silly, wonderful, thematic, or just off-the-wall entries, so I’d talked it up pretty big with the kids. I knew that I ought to temper my expectations after the outrageously disappointing holiday parade this past December, but I couldn’t help it. I was psyched. Unfortunately, it really was kind of mediocre; it seems like some of the enthusiasm for creative entries has died down a bit over the past 30 years and there’s a lot more phoning-it-in going on. Even so, the kids said that they liked it and they were pretty rapt throughout.

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We met up with Gigi and Papa Doc just before it started, and then strolled through the art fair with them, which just feels like such a wonderful thing to be able to do. Not only because they’re a big part of why this weekend feels important to me, but just because it’s so nice to be able to spend time with them so easily and casually. They’ve popped over to our house on a few evenings recently, just for a quick hello and maybe a glass of wine, and that’s been absolutely wonderful. The kids can’t get enough of them.

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More moments of everyday happiness: watching these baby birds grow up and get ready to leave the nest.

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Or how about seeing Jonah share his remote controlled tarantula with Jude and show him how to use it? Both horrible and wonderful at the same time.

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Or how about a hula hoop dance party downtown with the kids the night before the parade? We had them out way past bedtime but I loved everything about it (well, except for the meltdowns once we got home, but you know what I mean).

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And finally, those weekend afternoons when everyone else is napping and I suggest to Jonah that we get out the paints and he’s totally into it. Lately he wants to collaborate on a painting with me (something we started by accident), and I love it. Today he wanted to paint outer space and then we painted a forest (he added a fox and a dragonfly). Sure, there may have also been tanks and zombies in at least one of his paintings, but I love these quiet moments with him. I was putting away groceries and I looked over and really noticed him standing there painting, and I knew that the groceries didn’t matter at all, so I left them on the floor and joined him.

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