Friday, June 19, 2020

High Five for Friday (6.19.20)

I'm still not venturing out to bars or restaurants, but I'm 100% in for outdoor and (mostly) socially distanced evening gatherings to celebrate friends' birthdays. Happy day to you, Ari!

I'm also 100% in for "field trips" to nearby sunflower fields. We missed the flowers' peak, but we enjoyed admiring their beauty and had fun taking pictures of these besties (I just now realized that we should have had the girls take a picture of their mom besties too). Next year we'll aim to visit a couple of weeks earlier!

It was VERY bright outside. This
was widest they could open their eyes.

These little tastes of activity and excursion are pleasant reminders of what our lives looked like - and what we loved about our lives - up until three months ago and what we hope they will once again look like down the road.

Speaking of activity and excursion...

Will went back to soccer practice a couple of weeks ago, and doing so completely changed his outlook on this extended summer break. I'm so grateful his club and coaches have been able to orchestrate practices in a way that lets the boys play while keeping them as safe as possible.

And now this week Hallie finally got her chance, attending her first musical theater camp at our local theater company. (A different organization and camp than that in which she played Dorothy last summer.) I was impressed at how well the leadership team did at establishing and following guidelines, and as a result, I felt alright about sending Hallie. She has had a great time, and I look forward to sharing a little more about her experience next week, after camp has wrapped!

I'm sure many of you can relate to how difficult it is to balance kids' physical and mental health right now. A part of me wants to keep them locked up inside the house for the next two years, but as I watched them struggle more and more throughout quarantine, I knew the time would come when we would have to - as a family - discuss taking and then actually move forward with taking some calculated risks. It's scary. Hang in there, friends.

I finally finished my Little Free Library makeover! The last few years of Texas' oppressive and near-constant heat, humidity, and sun (along with an occasional hurricane) did a number on our Little Free Library's exterior, so on a whim I decided to give it a facelift. I took it apart (took the door off and removed all of the hinges), sanded the wood, gave the library a fresh coat of paint with the colors we used on the shed last year, and restained the post. She looks nice, doesn't she?

Today is Juneteenth. I am embarrassed to admit that until this year, I knew nothing about what celebrating this holiday - which I've also heard called Jubilee Day and Freedom Day - meant.

Juneteenth commemorates this day - June 19th - in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger read aloud the federal orders that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Though these individuals had been formally freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier and the Civil War had ended in April of that year, Texas was "the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent". Festivities began the following year here in Texas, and grew gradually throughout the last 150 years. Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or day of observance in 47 of the 50 states. (Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota do not recognize Juneteenth.) Popular Juneteenth activities include readings, lectures, exhibitions, and historical reenactments, as well as prayer services, street fairs, cookouts, reunions, rodeos, and parties. The day is about celebrating African American* freedom and achievement, but also about celebrating heritage, instilling pride, and honoring influences.

* I used "African American", rather than "Black", here because that is the terminology used on the official Juneteenth website.  

Covid-19 has made every holiday since March look different than it has in the past, and Juneteenth is no different. But now that I actually know what this holiday means, I plan to celebrate. Will and I will attend the Brazos Valley African American Museum's Juneteenth Curbside Celebration this morning (Hallie will be at theater camp and unfortunately can't join us) so he and I can be a part of and learn more about this special day, and over dinner we'll talk about what we've learned with the rest of the family.

Want to learn more about Juneteenth? Check out and the What is Juneteenth? episode on the podcast First Name Basis with Jasmine Bradshaw.

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