Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Strange Afflictions & a Launch Day Giveaway

A little over a year ago my heart started doing strange things. Per my usual, which is hardly ever normal-usual, it was difficult to explain. The symptoms didn't fit neatly on a diagnostic checklist. I made an appointment and sat awkwardly on the little table while a cranky doctor squinted at me a bit sideways, unable to hide his confusion. (If you've been around here for a while, you'll recall this isn't really anything new.) He asked questions, I answered. "No, it doesn't hurt." "It's not skipping beats." "It's sort of...vibrating. And I can hear it. With my ears."

He was skeptical. But he hooked me up to the monitor and told me again, "You are fine. Everything is okay. Is it possible that you're under stress of some kind? Let's have a look again in a year, just to check in."

I wandered out to the front desk and they scheduled me for September something-or-other, 2016. All I could think was, "The next time I'm here, my book will be out."

The same book I was neck-deep in writing at the time. The one that made it hard to sleep. The one that made me believe my ears could hear my heart buzzing.

I recently canceled that follow-up appointment. It seemed like the least awkward response and honestly, though my doctor is nicer than I originally thought and would happily take my cash, I'm not sure I can bear his questions, which he (rightly so) forgets he has already asked me several times over the past six years. I know what's happening now when it happens, this collision of excess energy.

I am fine. Everything is okay.

But it's September 20th, and my book was born early this morning. I've never given birth to a human, much less a paperback.

I don't know exactly how I feel right now, and it's much too early in the day/week/month to anticipate how I'll feel overall.

As I told Jamie Ivey on the Happy Half Hour podcast that aired earlier this week, "It's like standing in my underwear." (I listened to this one with my family because it's SO MUCH FUN and you cannot imagine how happy this line made Silas.)

Just know that I'm here, alive and kicking, a little nervous but not too nervous to eat. Cory surprised me by taking a vacation day and we have big plans to keep ourselves distracted.

But mostly, I'm just grateful to be living this dream I never could have anticipated. The book is written, people will respond like they do, whatever that happens to mean. Some will love it. Some will not. But God will use it to wake us up and shake us up, I believe that with my whole heart. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Throughout this post I'm sharing quotes from some of you who have already finished the book and so sweetly wrote and shared reviews. (Click on their links to read more and to check out their blogs. There are some talented writers on my launch team!) It is so much fun to watch Falling Free find a home in the hearts of other fumbling humans longing for home and willing to get banged up and messy while they wait.

If you haven't ordered your copy, you can do that at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, christianbook.com, Books-A-Million, or iBooks, to name a few. You can also go crazy-analog, drive to a bookstore, and bring home a physical copy...today! It's so weird. It's so amazing!

I would love you forever (on top of the forever-way I already love you,) if you would be willing to share Falling Free with your people. I simply cannot pretend to be the girl who "doesn't care" if people buy the book. I care. I believe in the message of the Gospel, to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves, to care for overlooked and forgotten people, to make kin of lost souls, to identify with broken humans. I believe from my graying roots down to my size 9 Converse tennis shoes that freedom comes after surrender, and that one of the best things we can do for the kingdom is hop off the ladder, relinquish our DIY plans, and fall down to the low places around us, where God is already very much at work, waiting for us to join him.

Here's where it gets even more interesting: I have been collecting plates. Long after our famed Plate Auction. I have no explanation. It is an affliction which is impossible to diagnose (I see a theme!) and one for which I hope to never find a cure.

(If you feel a giveaway brewing, it means you're perceptive and should be rewarded with a generous slab of pumpkin cake or whatever else you happen to have lying around.)

All you have to do to enter is share Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted. Share it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your personal blog. Share it with your pastor, your lady's ministry, your book club. Share it with your neighbor. Get all Dr. Seuss if you want and share it here and there and everywhere. You can find shareable images on the book website, search the Instagram hashtag #fallingfreebook, or just go rogue and do your own thing.

In the comments below, tell me where/how you shared. That's it. You don't have to include a link and I'm not going to check up on you, because I'll be busy looking for sea glass up on Lake Michigan or stress-watching episodes of American Crime or praying haphazardly and out loud, or baking, or folding laundry. Or all of the above.

I trust you. Of course I do! You are my actual people, and if you don't believe me, then why did I thank you in my acknowledgements in the back of the book? I simply could not have done any of this without you, my tribe. So allow me to call in every favor in two little words, "Please Help".

This giveaway will run through Friday at 11:59 Eastern time, in which I will close comments and choose two random Plate Collection winners. (Disclaimer: I'm traveling this week, so I won't announce winners until next week.)

We did it. We're doing it. Let's never quit.

Please keep falling with me,

* I can ship plates only in the Continental USA
**Amazon affiliate link used


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Love on a Monday

Yesterday morning I dropped Silas and Ruby off like I do every day, where the sidewalk splits, kissing their faces and whispering final thoughts. We were running on the later side, kids filed into the building for breakfast and learning. Another Monday morning. I pushed ear buds into place and headed toward the walking path. It had taken just one complaint about a sinister looking guy watching me from up under the eaves of the bridge before Cory ordered me a can of pepper spray. I often wonder if I'd even know what to do with it, or if it's one more hassle I'll never use.

The leaves are just starting to fall, brown and not at all beautiful, the first to give up. I listened to a friend as she burned her sweet potatoes from across the miles, delivering the sweetest monologue about the ways a family can turn on a dime, how we're so much readier to offer love than we could imagine, how we're more resilient than we even know. Her laugh rang in my ears, effervescent. Monday was off to a fine start.

I saw him from a short distance, sitting alone on the bench, his dirt bike cast aside. I did the necessary, knee-jerk mental math, calculating risk and plotting myself on a map no one else was close enough to see. I said hello. Made eye contact. He did the same and we were fine. We were fine. I kept on walking.

I walk because I want to know my place is lovely. I walk because I want to know I belong. So if I happen to catch dew bouncing light off the leaves of a very tall weed, or the sun slants just right through trees and breaks the asphalt into a million stunning promises, I will stop to take a picture. There's no other way, and I don't care to return to the days when I didn't notice.

Stepping out from the brush, he blew past me on his bike, turning around just a little. It was that fraction of a moment, that slight twisting of his neck, that worried me. No doubt, that's the only reason I'm still talking about him today. The truth is, I will never know what he was thinking, or why he sat there early on a Monday morning. But I know it made me nervous, and I know I wouldn't have felt the same if his hair were tidier, his clothes less baggy, or if he'd worn a helmet like the good work commuters do. He was probably my people - one of the lost boys of this city who prowl the streets alone, avoiding eye contact while begging someone to look them in the eye. My gut knew we were kin, but my brain protested. Isn't that what life asks of us, to lean heavy on the scale of our perceived self protection?

Well, I've been called a fool before.
I walked the rest of the way home, past spitting-mad pit bulls and windows dressed in plastic. I saw morning glories creeping through chain link and saw myself, not sure whether I was the flower or the fence.

I came home asking questions, "How can we be nearer to one another today? What do we have to offer? What do we need? How can we carry love with an open hand?" A few minutes later, a police officer sauntered past my window and I edged it up so I could hear the drama through the screen, like any good neighbor would do. No lights or sirens, their cars eventually pulled away, and that's when the shouting began. Monday morning, and some of my neighbors hate each other. Monday morning, and you couldn't tear me away from this busted up place with its busted up people.

Cory and I have cycled back down into some kind of emotional low place. At least now we know to expect it. I worry about repeating myself here, frustrated by the way my heart wants most to write the hard stuff, skewing my reality and what filters out to you. Please remember, so much goes unwritten, especially the beautiful mundane that holds us together between the rough spots. Just this morning a neighbor boy at the bus stop showed me his broken pinky finger and I wished for two strips of tape to hold it steady against his ring finger while it heals. That's what we are. That's what we do. Sometimes I'm the sideways pinky. Sometimes it's you.

Here's what I know today about love - it demands every cell of me. It requires long stretches of wandering through the parts of life that have had the color sucked out of them. It means losing sleep over children who call me "Mrs. Martin," or, "Calvin's mom," or who don't call me anything at all. It means almost giving up - almost - before remembering the heart truly does not choose who to love, and my heart loves folks who might fall into early graves with a twist of track-marks only mapping half the places they've been. It might happen. It might be happening. If it does, they'll know I love them to the bitter end. They'll know none of it mattered, not really, and that I always knew there was hope, I always saw them through the lens of their healthiest self. They were welcome at my table and their jokes never lost their punch. Their eyes, as dim as they might have been, never stopped bouncing love and light back to me.

Love means sitting together in sadness, in the dark of night, driving drunks home and hearing their pain. It also means feeling it with them, grabbing a corner to lighten the load in ways that might be imperceptible, but believing it matters anyway.

Love means powering off my phone. Love means burning the noodles and showing up instead with just potatoes and cabbage - this is all I have to offer. It means you'll heap it onto your plate, tease me, and talk to me about what's real in a sacred space carved from our collective doubt.

Love means hearing, "I'll do anything to make it up to you. Anything," and realizing the only thing I want is to keep him by my side, to have him near, to know he believes all my truths were forged for him, too.

Love is a back-rub. A pile of tear-stained kleenex.  A brand new set of teeth, offered free of charge. It's telling the hardest truth and believing we'll survive. It's answering the phone after midnight. It's asking the complicated questions, mining my history and spreading it out in before me for a long, honest look. This is where I came from. This is how I got here. This is why I stay.

Love means being willing to be lonely. It means feeling out of place so others can feel known. Love means having little but offering it anyway. It also means having a lot but realizing it's not helpful in the first place.

At first glance, my Monday offered little opportunity to love and be loved. I hate feeling ordinary. I miss the days when life buzzed with double-shots of emotional espresso. It made for good stories. It made me feel useful. It made the days fly by.

But when I stay stubbornly awake, pinching my arms and slapping my cheeks when necessary, I notice that love often lives somewhere in the spin of tires, the whir of lawnmowers, the school bells, the timer on the stove. Love loves slow and quiet places. It dares us to enter in, where we cannot be distracted by the bustle and where emergencies show up small.

In and out. On and on.
We are all still very much alive.


{One week left to pre-order Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted and grab the pre-order freebies! And there's a good chance people who pre-order will actually end up getting it early.}

Saturday, September 3, 2016


We are alive! The Martins are alive and well! We were busy last week and then decidedly unbusy this week and now that we're staring down a long weekend, we've decided to continue with the unbusiness. It suits us.

Tonight we wandered around our city's First Friday, scoping out VW camper-vans (Silas was tremendously impressed not by the fact that they had beds and kitchens, but that they had electrical outlets,) we hit up the churches that offer free food, we played corn-hole, we said a few hellos, the kids had snow cones, we and we held hands for a very long time, in air just the right shade of perfect.

One of the teacher's from the kids' school stopped and offered to take our pic!

{Please notice Ruby's Barbie, which she had to bring with her, and posed in a variety of ways throughout the night, but please don't ask her about it because she's apparently very uncomfortable talking about this portable show-piece of hers. She hates to attract attention.}

I hope you have lots of nothing planned, yourselves.

No laboring! None at all! We shall not be laborers!


::  This photo essay of two sisters will split your heart open! (And the third photo down looks just like Ruby River.)

::  My favorite source for colorful, durable, super cute, first-hand kids clothing is having a massive sale - 20% off everything (including clearance!) and free shipping. We love their global perspective and their commitment to ethical sourcing! 

:: A heartfelt black perspective on white privilege.  

::  This blog post wins as the most hopeful things I've read all week. I keep finding myself thinking about it.

::  I'm obsessed with these flowers. Obsessed! {Follow them on IG for a sunnier feed.}

::  I won bonus points for making these carnitas tacos this week. (Silas: "Do we eat tacos every day?" Only when we're lucky, son...)

:: Remember the time I celebrated back-to-school by decorating my house with trash?

::  In recent weeks I've been on a few podcasts. Catch me on the Billy Graham radio program and on Around the Table.

:: I'll file this one under, 'Gimme back my theological comforts! I don't like being convicted!' {"We rely more on the Bible than we do on the living and active Spirit of God within us...While the Bible is an important and authoritative guide for Christian faith and practice, it isn’t the foundation or center of our faith- Jesus is."}

::  I love my city so much! {"It’s not unusual for today’s American cities to have a demographic makeup that is more diverse than in years past. What is unusual, however, is for a city government to not only adjust to the changing population, but to acknowledge that it is a better place because of it. Of course, Goshen has always been known for being a bit unusual – in the best possible way."}

::  Loving these letterpress state flower prints. (Indiana's flower is the peony! Swoon.)

::  5 Reasons to Quit Your Church. Boom/Ouch.

::  Getting ready to dig into this with a side of this.

::  And pssst! I'm two point five weeks away from this. It's surreal. I can't talk about it. Unless it's after midnight and Cory's trying to sleep, and then I actually have quite a bit to say. ;)

Happy Weekending!

*Amazon affiliate link used


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Important Poverty of "Enough"

I dreamed all night about chicken.

I was slicing it into pasta with tomatoes and basil, chopping it into Cobb salads with no bacon, baking it, pan-frying it. I woke up tired.

And hungry.

On top of that, I still didn't know what to do with the chicken thawing in the fridge for the company set to arrive in my kitchen later today. The floor is still a little sticky from two nights ago, when Silas and Calvin got into a shoving match over who got to sit on the stool at the island and spilled a gigantic cup of orange juice. The mud room looks like a crime scene. And I can't even talk about the upstairs bathroom.

Here's a confession: the first thing I do every morning is pray read my Bible kiss Cory scroll through my phone. It might be one of the least popular things to admit, but I have a hunch I'm not the only one. And in my defense, my phone only gives me two chances to hit snooze. I max them out daily, then grab the nearest lit object which happens to double as a device which encourages the opening of my beady brown eyes. It wakes me up. Life goes on.

But what sometimes happens is that I end up reading things when I'm only half-awake. That can pose a real threat on even a Thursday or Friday. Just imagine the stakes when it's only Tuesday, and a rainy one, at that.

This morning I had an email from a name I didn't recognize, with a subject line that sounded only vaguely familiar. Turns out, it was in response to a guest post I wrote for The Art of Simple, The Weird Route to Real Community. The timing of being reminded of my own words was...not ideal. Because if what I said was true, if I'm a woman who believes we all land more softly in authentic community when we're willing to be the truest version of ourselves, then I was going to have to get a hold of myself and live like my words have a heart and soul, that they're more than one more attempt at making myself look good.

This might go down as the very fight of my lives - to continually back myself into the corner of being forced to believe the truth never loses its flavor. I'm brilliant at finding opportunities to cop out and retreat to a place of false security, where I prop myself up and pray my legs don't give out, at least not until the crowds have dispersed.

I know I cannot live that way, I can't possibly bear my own weight, yet I find myself inching up on the tips of my toes, over and over again.

I'm slowly overcoming this urge to rise up as I learn to lean heavy against my neighbors. They have become my Sunday School, my catechism, my communion road. We come together with all our baggage and realize just how much smaller we are than we ever knew. It is a very good thing. 

My wise, true-blue friend D.L. Mayfield says in her mic-drop of a book (one of my favorite reads ever,) Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith,
I am poor, in that I do not know how to love people just as they are. I am poor, in that I do not know how to love myself if I am not actively giving something. I am poor, in that I do not know if I have the strength to see the kingdom of God as it was meant to be played out. I have a poverty of relationships, in that the more I try and forget about the evils of our age and my own responsibility to them, the more my heart is revealed for what it is. In reality, I am impoverished. I am starving. I am weeping. I am oppressed by a world that runs in opposition to the dreams of God. And only when I recognize how poor I really am do I start to understand that I am right where I need to be.
So, what can I do to recognize and own my poverty today? How can I sweep my DIY support systems under the rug, stare hard at the face of Christ, and dare to believe He is enough? I honestly don't know, and I'm already afraid of failure. I know myself too well.

But I pounded the chicken thin, and though it won't be fancy, it will be enough.
I walked around quickly with a dishrag, daubing at the most egregious spots on my kitchen floor, and it will be enough.
I hauled four boxes from the mud-room to the basement, and it will have to be enough.

Here I am, neighbor. There is nothing perfect about me, my family, or our home. I value the hope for a relationship with you far too much to pretend otherwise. Come on in. Have a seat at our table, the one scarred from years of art projects and scorching hot soup. I want to see God's glory reflecting off your own scars.

I need His hope and see it so clearly when we come together and dare to be awkward humans, in need of pretty much everything.


Assimilate or Go Home releases today! I cannot champion this book enough. I find myself in every page and though really seeing myself can be painful, DL's story points straight back to the grace and hope of Jesus. Do yourself a favor and order a copy of this stunning work.

*Amazon affiliate link

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Change with the Days

The kids have been back in school for exactly one week but it feels more like a month. We're all a bit whiplashed over the switch from easy-does-it living to all-in routine, complete with a few emotional break-downs, tired kids, tired parents, forgotten instruments and gym shoes, homework angst, reading logs, and being forced to come in and shower while the neighbors are still out playing.

I have the house to myself during the day, but I'm remembering all over again what it's like to work all day and then just sort of never stop working. The hours from 8-2:30 fly by while I write and do work-related things, clean up the house, start dinner, fold laundry, run my neighbors around, and sometimes even shower. Afternoons and evenings are a rush of homework, dinner, and with any luck, a round of Yahtzee (Calvin whooped me last night). I have kids that now stay up until almost 9, and once they're down I usually remember one more work thing that I need to finish. I might have some down time around 10:30, and I'm usually up until midnight.

What I'm trying to say is, I have not hit my groove.

What I'm also trying to say is, I have it at least 89% easier than many (most?) of you, and I won't ever pretend that's not the case. I know some of you would give your left big toe to be able to work from home or walk your kids to school or hey, maybe just have another adult in the house to help you with anything ever. I think you're a total rock-star, and if I could, I would toss this computer out the window and clear a space for you at this scratched up table so we could share some muffins and tea.

I suppose we're all doing our best, and often feeling like it's not enough. I'm trying to maintain perspective and stop entertaining fantasies about not picking up after anyone in my house for two solid days just so everyone around me would see all I do for them and fall at my feet weeping with repentance, for the love

I actually added something new to my day and I think it will help, if I let it. I honestly don't remember how I even came to the decision, or why. I just know that after walking the kids to school on their second day, instead of turning around and retracing my steps back home, I crossed a different street and kept going. I walked through a different park, up into the neighborhood across the street from ours, along a fence-row that's wrought iron instead of chain-link, past rows of homes with broken window panes, keeping my eye on sidewalks buckled in different places. Today, I found a random penny, Lincoln-up, so I grabbed it. As I walked, I spotted four more, and left them for someone else to find.

So far, August is a new pair of shoes that pinch our feet. We're not quite ready. It's not broken-in yet, or maybe we aren't.

But now is now and I know my days are ordered. I know God uses the mundane to reorient my priorities. I know he uses my most fitful child to show me myself, and his love for me. I know he uses leaves rustling with the coming of rain to remind me to pray. I know he uses my place, my tiny spot on the map of his kingdom, to draw me closer to Him.

Here are a few things making me smile right now:

Pray as You Go app - I listen to this each morning while I walk, (thanks, D.L.!) and it is everything to me. Produced by Jesuits, the website describes it as "a framework for your own prayer." It lasts around 13 minutes, combining music, Bible readings, and time for reflection and prayer. You can read more about it here

Sun tea with herbed simple syrup
I brew black tea in my big jug on the front porch, then make flavored simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 large sprig or handful of herbs, combine over heat until sugar is melted, let steep for a while, discard herbs.) Right now I have a batch of basil syrup and a batch of mint syrup. I spend part of every afternoon moderating the amount of syrup Silas adds to his tea and part of every evening telling Calvin it's too late to drink tea. 

My ever-changing book stack
When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano
if you want to be sure
that you are nothing more than small
stand at the edge of the ocean
looking out

Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
"We arrive in this world with birthright gifts - then we spend the first half of our lives abandoning them or letting others disabuse us of them. As young people, we are surrounded by expectations held by people who are not trying to discern our selfhood but to fit us into slots...we are trained away from true self toward images of acceptability; under social pressures like racism and sexism our original shape is deformed beyond recognition, and we ourselves, driven by fear, too often betray true self to gain the approval of others."

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
If you live in community with Latino neighbors (and I hope you do!) this is a must-read. I brought it home after hearing it recommended by my friend Osheta Moore and Calvin very casually said, "Oh, you'll like that one." Apparently some of the 4th graders read it at Chamberlain, so I spent the first half of my summer talking about it with him and our neighbor girl. (It's only $5 through Amazon Prime!)

What's something helping keep you afloat during these trying dog days?

*Amazon affiliate links used

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On Loving Our Schools & Mom Guilt

When my family moved to a disadvantaged neighborhood complete with a Title I school (most students at or below the poverty line,) I suddenly started noticing things I had taken for granted in the past. One of those things was Box Tops for Education, those little squares on cereal boxes and all sorts of other things. For the first time, I was in a district that didn't have the funding for important things like safe playground equipment, field learning trips, and any "extra" learning enhancements.

Taking the time to clip those little ten cent tokens became totally worth it, and I invited you to begin clipping, too. Many of you began sending them to an in-need school in your local area, and others began sending them straight to us.

To put it very mildly, our teachers and staff were stunned by your graciousness. As envelopes arrived from across the United States and even across the globe, the world compressed, becoming smaller in a really beautiful way. Many kiddos in our neighborhood struggle in ways most of us will never understand. But they know there are people cheering them on, believing in them, and it matters.

You walked toward our need, and it is still making a difference.

Over the summer, we had an opportunity to make a little film our school and YOUR support of us. It's so sweet, and I wanted to share it with you. I cry every time I watch!

In other newsy news, I shared my Good Mom essay over at (in)courage today. You may have caught it the first time around, but it is one I need to personally re-read over and over again. Maybe the same is true for you, or a friend you know struggling with mom-guilt. Find it here. 

"Our job is not to lasso our kids’ hearts for God then hand Him the rope. We cannot tie our goodness to an outcome that was never ours to create. We’ve gotten this all wrong. Our job is to reflect His goodness while we are here in the land of the fumbling, wrecking-ball living. It’s time to reshape this narrative."

Happy Tuesday, pals! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Our Summer in Numbers

Our Summer mantra
{twist my arm!}

:: Toe nail polish colors worn - 1

:: Varieties of berries picked - 4

:: Visits to a peony farm -1

:: Visits to a lavender farm - 1

:: Visits to DeFries Garden - 4

:: Entries in our matching, spiral-bound art journals - 0

:: Practiced flash cards - 0

:: Books read - 1,000,000

:: Books left lying around the house - 999,998 (I kept one in the van and we lost one.)

:: Library fines - $11.58

:: Vacations - 0

:: Walks around Fidler Pond - 9

:: Visits to Papaw and Grandma's house - 2

:: Cousin Camp with Nana and Papa - 1

:: VBS - 2

:: Extra camps or organized summer clubs - 0

:: Trips to New Buffalo beach - 4

:: Pieces of sea glass collected - 73

:: Trips to the zoo - 0

:: Play dates - 2

:: Hours spent playing with neighbors - 4-5/day

:: Secret campfire with neighbors after kids were in bed - 2

:: Freebies launched for Falling Free pre-orders - 7

:: Potted plants planted - 4

:: Potted plants obliterated - 3

:: Average wake-up time for the kids - 6:50

:: Average wake-up time for mama - 8:30

:: Average breakfast times - 9:00

:: Homemade pie gatherings hosted on our back patio - 0

:: Canning fiascos - 1

:: Apologies - 11/day (average)

:: Emergency flowers from Cory - 2

:: Popsicles allotted per day - 3

:: Pinterest activities - 0

:: Organized art projects - 0

:: Disorganized art/woodworking/engineering projects - 2/day average (high heels x 2, bed for Charles made with hammer and nails, wheel chair, table, pretend ice cream...)

:: Wasp stings for Silas - 5 (homeboy smells really good, for reals)

:: Spider bites occurring while I was ASLEEP IN MY BED - 4

:: Invasive search for spiders in or around my bed - 100

:: Van windows left down in a rain storm - 2

:: Parking tickets - 1

:: Toll tickets - 2

:: Speeding tickets - 1

:: Number of times I cried - 5

:: Number of times I cried over my speeding ticket - 4

:: Number of times I believe my emotional priorities are healthy - 0

:: Visits to ER - 1

:: Blood Draws for Calvin - 5

:: Number of times I cooked a proper dinner - 1.35

:: Average heat index - face of the sun

:: Overnight house guests - 8

:: Salsa nights - infinity

:: Rode our bikes 2 miles in 95 degree heat to the thrift store then had to wear plastic grocery bags like back-packs on the way home and nearly died of heat stroke and angst - 1

:: Dollars spent on groceries - $900

:: Number of times Calvin and Ruby baked without help from me - 3

:: Episodes of 30 Rock: 61

:: Emergency G&T's - 4

:: Full work days - 1

:: Number of times I thought or said "This has been my favorite summer ever." - 100+

{My kiddos went back to school today, so summer is basically over for us. It has been so, so good.}

(A number post from SEVEN years ago. Oh mah word.)