IMG_3492 my little sous chef. she is all about helping me in the kitchen. and i definitely want to encourage this. she has always been a little foodie and so eager to hang out wherever food is nearby, but her interest in learning more and really getting in there has blossomed in the past month or so. she wants to know exactly what is on the menu for the day. she wants ingredient lists and preparation methods. she asks such interesting and insightful questions. she wants to know ALL ABOUT IT.

so often, i rush through things. especially dinner prep. when dinnertime rolls around, i am usually on a mission. the kids wake from their nap at 4pm which is roughly when ben gets home. i nurse ridley and the kids enjoy le goûter and play while i prep dinner. it is our unwind time. we recap the day. the kids pounce on papa. it is noisy and playful.

i like to get dinner on the table on the earlier side of things since we are early bedtimers and early risers and we are old folks like that. and i admit that my dinner prep time can often be all about my getting things done. i move around quickly and move things along. i can have tunnel vision and distractions tend to annoy me. BUT i am working on engaging with elinor during this time. instead of having her watch from the sidelines, i have been inviting her to pull up a stool and put on her apron and get in there. and while it might add a few minutes and A MILLION MORE QUESTIONS to the process, it is such fun. i love this time with her. she is genuinely interested in what goes into meal preparation and genuinely wants to be a helper. she helps with mise en place and stirring and pouring and measuring. she collects bits of food and adds them to the pan. and she is quickly absorbing all the kitchen etiquette (and safety...she loves to wear the "giant gloves for hot things"). it's the very best.

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this smily boy. he has such a pleasant and cheerful demeanor. and he is especially happy when his papa gets home. the moment he sees ben enter the house or the room, he bounces and bops and squeals and lets out a joyful puhPAAAAAH sound. and if he isn't busy eating, he will make a beeline for ben. head down and crawling as fast as he can until he reaches ben's feet. then he will sit up on his knees and pat ben's feet and bounce up and down while raising his arms up with an eager uuuuuuhhhh (up) sound.

and when he is with papa, it is smile-city. he messes with his beard and pats his chest and lovingly swats at his nose. and nuzzles. i love watching them together. they goof around and play and babble. they play catch. they horseplay. rough and tumble but also super sweet. this father-son business is all sorts of heart-melting.

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a scene from sabbath. we cuddled up with the book of common prayer for some family reading time. and while ben was reading the psalms, elinor reached out and grabbed both of our hands so we could "hold hands a-gether". she remained this way for a good five minutes until folding her hands during prayer. what a precious time. this is the stuff. watching as her heart becomes tender toward the things of the faith. listening as she slowly sings "jesus loves me". hearing her honest prayers - sharing her heart with God. observing her connecting the dots and beginning to understand the eternal meaning of things. learning verses. making choices. praying for self control and a clean heart. asking for forgiveness.

it is...indescribable. parenting these lives, raising them up, pointing them toward christ, sharpening these arrows of mine. what a TREMENDOUS honor and blessing and calling. Soli Deo Gloria.