It was the night before Corynn's birthday and the stars danced and twinkled their heavenly eyes to congratulate her.
Papa was heading out of town the next day, his first out of town business trip was to be on her birthday (Wonderful timing. NOT.) and wanted to do something wonderfully memorable for her. Something special. So he gave her the best gift a father can give.
Time. Spontenaiety. Love.
Earlier that day he prepared the concrete blocks and she knew something was coming. Something good.
Secretly, I gathered the ingredients.
Then, he gathered the wood and set it aflame.
I hadn't anticipated her excitement to involve running indoors, but that she did- to fetch blanket and book. Apparently, there is nothing more appealing than firelit, blanket-cuddled reading.
We nestled our chairs up close to the fire, gathered sticks and ate Smores before dinner. During dinner. After dinner. We ate BBQ chicken bites, heated over the flames, while the peepers sang their nightsongs and the leaves whispered airy lullabyes.
Then~ all of a sudden~ ***P.o.P***
The sound was like a gunshot in the stillness of the night and the fire rudely sputtered and spit flames and smoldering wood at us. One rather large piece landed squarely on Panda's pants and there it smoldered (quite unknowingly on his part) until I noticed and in sheer terror flicked it off. I was never so thankful that he is not yet potty-trained and was protected by a diaper!
Apparently, rocks explode and my Eagle Scout husband forgot that tidbit. Since my attention was averted to my young son, I didn't notice that the chair I had just emptied to take a photograph (before the explosion) now sat with a large, quietly evil piece of flaming wood squarely in its' center. By the time it was discovered, the Patio chair pad was quite ruined.
After that, the children's chairs were moved back and the Mama and Papa risked our lives (and eyes, and skin, and clothing) to roast marshmellows for chocolatey, grahamy goo sandwiches.
But our night was not ruined (though it would have been if any serious burns or scars had been a result.)
We just sat there in the darkness, chairs far enough away to be safe but close enough to feel the warmth creep into our skin, listening to the crackle of flame and enjoying the golden shadows that played about our bodies. We spoke in quiet tones and we gazed upward to find planets and constellations. We found an airplane or two, Venus, and enjoyed the moon but mostly just enjoyed the thousands of bright stars that lined that cloudless, clear night.
The expression on Corynn in this last one cracks me up. Mattie is scooting Panda back, and Corynn is wondering if another rock is gonna blow!
It was a memorable occasion, in more ways than one, but the one I trust the one the children will look back on is this: We were there with them, making moments into memories, and there is no where else we wanted to be.
And because they are abundant these days, a few more 'firsts' at the Newman Villa :
~ The first dinner at our dining room table, with REAL dishes and cloth napkins! How elegant we felt, even with just plain white Corelle.
~ A first Mama and adolescent bear sighting while eating dinner on the patio- and it found its way excitedly into conversation for days to come.
~ Our first anniversary here- which found a paper plate of grapes, cheese and crackers, and a brownie atop our bed and us toasting our lives and love with iced tea in Dixie cups. I love my husband. I love the six years I have had with him as my husband. I greedily grasp at every future year and memory the Lord will give me. Dixie cup or silver goblet, celebrated with an elegant evening or by doing nothing- our anniversary is always spent in amazement that our lives can be this good.
~ First apples eaten from our own apple tree. For several weeks, Andrew never was without one in his mouth or hands. He ate them even when they were not yet ripe, and actually enjoyed them that way!
~ A first deer family inviting itself to dinner under said Apple tree while we dined just a few yards away. Awe filled whispers and stares, and chubby, grimey dirty bare feet standing motionless in chairs to get a view.
~ Last Sunday was the first time I wore a necklace to church, that morning unpacked from a recently moved jewelry box. And I was dressed like a queen.
~ The first two child disappearances: I found them standing in empty window frames in the furthest barn from the house. They climbed up old rotten hay to perch in their own square, oblivious to the notion that I cared where they were.
~ A first pee on the potty-pot for the Panda with crowing cheers and claps from all.
~ A first night slept under covers all their own, on mattresses all their own. The children slept like babies.
~ The first box of books unpacked, joy of joys! Storytime just got more interesting!
~ The first time we 'created' with more than just crayons or a pen. Unpacking the 'art supplies' box has given us joy every day since. Markers have never seemed so vibrant until now. Construction paper is really quite beautiful. And GLUE!?! How handy!
~ Papa rested his head and fell asleep, cheek snuggled into my abdomen. Bunkin biffed him. SCORE! Your first, Bunkin!
~ A first day of Homeschool: and it ended with "Please Mama! I want to do MORE school! PLEASE can we just do a BIT more?"
It seems everyday there is something new to celebrate.