A dozen or so huge dragonflies (some mating, some wishing they were :-)
Several species of birds I cannot identify
Several bright blue butterflies
Matt has an affinity for rocks that I don't always quite understand. He finds them wherever we go. They almost seem to seek him out. For him, rocks often have a specific significance . To me, rocks are rocks. Sometimes are they pretty, they make a nice seat, once in a while I take the nice ones home but then I don't quite to know what to do with them and they end up gathering dust.
Since we have moved here, however, I have been a lot more aware of the rocks around me. There are so many more large chunks of beautiful rocks in the woods here. Quartz and granite, pyrite and marble abound (must be why the curbs in town are made of granite:) The milky white and pearly pinks of quartz and sparkle sheen of pyrite are especially noticeable in the streams and ponds.
I love how water can bring a whole new life to rocks. On dry land, a group of small stones seem ordinary, drab, even ugly. Submerge them in water and colors, hues, and textures emerge that where previously hidden.
Playing at the pond at camp with Abigail the other day I realized how much we are like these stones. Dull, muted, hidden, and forgotten on many days. Stepped on by many, unnoticed or scorned by the world. Until we are surrounded by the rushing, babbling, leaping living water that Christ promised the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4). When we are touched by this water, a new person is revealed, a beauty is discovered. The most mundane of us becomes dazzling. Our uniqueness is brought forth and people cannot get enough of us. Not because we alone are so wonderful but because we have been transformed into something surprising by a power greater than ourselves. The living water Christ describes in John 4 isn't some kind of cheap fix that makes appear better than we are. No, he talks about himself as being able to reveal our true identity and satisfy our all our longings.
I took some before and after water pictures of some rocks at the pond to remind me of the difference God's presence can make not only in my home or devotional life but in how others view me as well. When we are well steeped in the Lord, every aspect of us is transformed to others as well and people are drawn. I need to be reminded what an important impact my life can make to other people simply by living daily in God's promises.
So you'd think being in one of the earliest settled areas of our country, we would be exploring our historical roots. But to be honest that just hasn't made it on our agenda yet (side note: do you know that Plymouth rock is only a smidge larger than a laptop and has been moved several times breaking into smaller pieces along the way?! I mean, who wants to take their preschooler and toddler to see that when the beach is so close?!).
Anyway, Matt had a camping conference/meeting last week in Plymouth. Since Plymouth is right in the ocean and Matt's meeting was only in the morning, the whole clan piled into the van for the 4 hour drive.
While Matt was learning and networking, the kids and I explored the Girl Scout camp where the meeting was being held. We hiked around for an hour (that is a long time for a 3-year-old) and Abigail even had her first poop in the woods. I told you this girl was going to be tough by the end of the summer!
During our drive to Plymouth, the weather was rainy and pretty nasty. But soon after we started hiking, the rain turned to a soft mist and the sun began to filter through the clouds. There were lots of evergreens in the woods and the other trees and rocks in the area had this beautiful, inviting seafoam and mint green lichen and moss growing on them. It was thicker and fuller than the lichen here in western Mass. I am guessing that the moist ocean air makes the difference. I felt like we were walking through the green section of the crayon box. It was lovely!
After lunch, we all made our way to the beach for a lively afternoon of exploring, splashing, digging, seashell collecting, rock scrambling, bird spotting, and playing. We all really had a great time. It was the first time we have really had a chance to relax and play without time restrictions since we arrived. What a blessing!
We finished off the day by stuffing ourselves at a great beach side restaurant and had a quiet (i.e. sleeping kids) mountain view filled ride home. The beach, relaxation, and play were a much needed reprieve in the midst of many hectic days.
Tuesday we celebrated Tristan's very 1st birthday! Matt was able to take a break from work so we could have dinner, open some presents and eat yummy cake.
Note: Tristan is wearing just a diaper not because it is so warm here (I wish!). We were preparing for the cake smearing/smashing/eating immediately to follow.
So here is the story on the funky-looking cake. There aren't any cake pans in the apartment we are staying in so I bought one of those foil ones not realizing until after I got home that the recipe I bought ingredients for was for a 8 x 8 pan not 9 x 12. I was NOT going back to the store (grocery shopping with two young kids once in a day is enough) so I improvised; I folded the pan instead and it turned out great. In fact, the pan acted as a reflector for the candle which added to the atmosphere of the event. :-)
Tristan very instensely studied the cake (as he does most new things) and gingerly played with the icing for about five minutes but he would not eat it! I put some of the icing on my finger for him to taste but no go. Can you believe it? What kid doesn't eat at least some cake for their first birthday?
Ah, well. Maybe he'll like vegetables instead. Every mother's dream.
Anyway, Happy Birthday to my baby boy with the intense, dark, kind eyes, insatiable, contagious smile, curious mind, impish looks, old man face, and belly full of giggles!