Don't faint, y'all, but I'm posting two weeks in a row. It's been a good week for us.
* Benji turned two on Sunday. He doesn't really talk yet. Most of my kids have been late talkers, saying few words until right around age two, then going from a 5 word vocabulary to full sentences in just a few months, so I'm giving him a few more months to keep up his jabbering, gesturing, and pointing before I start to worry. He has no problem communicating with us and getting what he wants. It is truly a beautiful thing to watch how much every one of his siblings dote on him. I can't remember where, but I once read a mom of a large family lament that she finds it so sad that just when teenagers need the unconditional love so easily provided by younger siblings the most is when parents quit having children. I would add that not only do the younger siblings provide that love, they also bring out the best, most unselfish aspects of teenagers at a time when teens are most inclined to be self-centered. It's a win-win, and I love having a front row seat to all the tenderness involved.
Everyone is very excited about our new baby boy coming in October. Poor Benji is about to be de-throned, but I'm sure he'll adjust well. He's a mellow, thoughtful kid. For a while, he insisted on being read The Very Hungry Caterpillar before every nap and bedtime, but he's moved on to other books, particularly if they involve trucks and cars.
Benji loves to watch Muppet vides on Youtube, particularly of Beaker (have you seen "Ode to Joy"?) and Cookie Monster. He does a great cookie monster impression that cracks us all up. Eliza and Harmony ordered him a cookie monster outfit for his birthday and to my surprise, he actually enjoys wearing it.
Then Lillian made him a cookie monster cake for his birthday and did a pretty good job of it, too. The cake itself, of course, tasted amazing because Lillian is still a culinary whiz (she was captain of her school's culinary team this past year).
* My family is probably late to the phenomenon, but we all got hooked on the Great British Baking Show this month and are sad that Netflix only has a few seasons. There's something so sweet about the intensity of the show and how devastating the judge's remarks can be without being mean or cruel. "It's just about four minutes from perfection, my dear." "It's raw." And the people on the show can be so humble and so insecure about their "bakes" that you can't help but root for them. The best part about the show is that there is none of the bickering or negativity that permeates most reality shows and particularly competition shows. Even when there are parts where you imagine they probably got some good footage of people getting angry with each other -- such as when one gal accidentally used someone else's custard -- they never show anything but the positive. It's truly refreshing.
* I haven't done much landscape photography of late. Last week, Cami was up late and a little out of sorts -- she had a spat with Harmony who shared a room with her and had moved a bunch of things out of the room, insisting that she didn't want to share with Harmony anymore (usually Harmony is very sweet to her, so this is new). So we went for a drive to the lake, took photos of the sunset and picked a few sunflowers. It was quite windy, so the bugs weren't around, thankfully. I think this is my favorite photo of the night: