Anniversary week and fall break

Our anniversary fell on a Saturday this year, and while last year’s anniversary celebration was bigger and better, this year was just as sweet. There was no trip, no big event to signify No. 17, no big gifts or hurrahs. Just a lazy day at home and a lovely dinner in town, just the two of us. Contentment means life is good wherever you are.

Our anniversary kicked off fall break, so the week has been punctuated by long runs (me), hunting (Chuck and Jeremy), and lots of sleeping in and reading (Jackson).

Yesterday we went to Dollywood, the one thing we said we’d do over fall break. We had season passes in 2011, and I’m pretty sure we took the boys again in 2012 or 2013, but my memory fails me so I can’t be sure. Regardless, it’s been a minute since we’ve been to Dollywood.

Much like our experience last summer at Hershey Park, we rode a few coasters together, then the old people bowed out. Jeremy and Jackson love riding roller coasters together, which is a gift to these two parents. Have at it, boys. Have at it.

As the day wore down and the crowds increased, we ran into Jimmy and the kids (Lesli arrived later, but we missed her!). Since Jimmy was flying solo for a couple of hours, we stepped in as co-pilots for a few rides.

Be still my heart when Catherine, the sweet, shy introvert who takes her time with people, insisted I ride a kiddie coaster with her! Foolish to resist, I agreed enthusiastically and off we went to stand in line. She instructed me on how to hold her close on the ride – just like Mama does – and even held her arms in the air on the last go around. I’ve been around this little one since birth, since she eagle-eyed me in the hospital: 

Now she snaps pictures with me willingly, not shy, not reserved, and I couldn’t be happier:

The other thing I’ve done over fall break is clean out the boys’ closets and dressers. They are blessed with so many hand-me-downs that I haven’t bought clothes for them in years. After sorting through the many things I found underneath Jackson’s bed, I held my breath at this last little gem – a note from Jeremy to Jackson, many years old now:

It is a sweet reminder that while we may be in a rough season of picking and prodding, there is love there. Thank goodness, y’all, because 11 and 14 are tough ages. I’ll take every reminder I can get.

Our morning with Henry

When I found out that Lesli (of “Susan and Lesli“) and her family were moving back to Tennessee, I immediately started to devise a plan for getting my hands on two-year-old Henry. That’s why I didn’t hesitate to spend a morning with him so Lesli could run an errand. Could I watch Henry? YES. I brought the boys along for extra helping hands, and also because we are together all the time and where else would they go?

This toddler is super fun. He is an excellent communicator and loves to make observations about the world around him. We chatted the whole time. He was a delight!

Squat

This is Henry’s expression of concern. He was worried about whether the street sweeper would return to his neighborhood for another loop. I love how his eyes brows furrow when he’s deep in thought.
Henry's close up

We went for a short walk near a creek and made conversation about waterfalls and the beautiful sound they make.

“I jump in?” he asks.

“No, let’s not jump in.”

I jump in

Bridge trek

Henry's Greenway

Jeremy was a great help with Henry. He paid attention to him the entire time, asked him questions, encouraged him to change activities, and did all sorts of things to keep the little man engaged.
My big helper

As we were leaving, he asked if we could adopt a little girl. I promptly changed the subject.

Meeting Henry

One highlight of the week was meeting Henry, the sweet little bundle who belongs to Lesli and Jimmy. (Remember me telling you about his early arrival?) They made their first trip home to east Tennessee this week so Henry could meet more of his extended family and friends. Happily, they popped over to my house yesterday. He is just as snuggly and sweet-smelling as I hoped he’d be.

Oh, how I miss this. There is nothing in this world as wonderful as a newborn.

The week was actually quite busy, so I’m behind on posts and pictures. They will have to wait because we have a date at Dollywood right now.