+01. Apparently I not only possess the world's cutest niece and nephew, but I also have the world's squishiest. After five days of firsthand exposure, I am convinced that the fatter the cheeks, the better. I am also sure that blue eyes may just be the most heart-melting. And I am happy to be known to my little niece as the aunty with lots of pretty beads for wearing.
+02. It was enormous fun to hang out -- really hang out -- with my sister properly for the first time since she was married two and a half years ago. Other visits have always been much shorter and much busier, or devoted entirely to other things. This time, there were late nights for sitting and chatting, girly movies to watch, and shopping trips. We may just have come up with solutions to major world crises while we talked, too.
+03. My cousin Annie hadn't changed a bit, except that she's more fun, smart, and gorgeous than ever. It was "beyond huge" (to quote a movie we incessantly repeated while she was here) to get to show her around Brisbane, introduce her to our church homies, and catch up with mutual friends. When she left, I found myself more thankful for my awesome cousins than ever (and that's saying something).
+04. When the happy whirl came at last to a stop on Sunday, I re-entered earth's atmosphere and was shocked to hear of the carnage caused by the Victorian bushfires. Fire is an expected part of an Australian summer; the death of so many is not. There has been an eerie sense of watching a bleak history being written as I repeatedly visit ABCnews and watch the death toll rise. Authorities are calling it Australia's worst natural disaster. All I can do is pray.
+05. In the meantime, my own life goes on unstrangely (and unfairly) unaffected. As I write, the next issue of Whatsoever Magazine is being printed, and this morning I put the finishing touches on a project I've been commissioned to design for Homespun magazine. It's a beautiful publication and I last did some work for the team there about five years ago, so I'm excited to be involved again. I'm excited, too, to be doing some hand stitching; it feels like too long since I pulled the sewing basket out and experimented. I'll post a little sneak peek soon.
+06. I am generally a little hermit soul, but I'm getting all eager and bouncy about my upcoming trip to Tasmania with my family. Most of us fly out on Valentine's Day for two weeks, and I'm already having dreamy thoughts of cooler weather, glorious old buildings, not setting my alarm, reading out on the balcony, bakeries and cafes, and the gorgeous city park. Oh, and picture-taking, of course. It'll be delicious.
What can't you wait for just now?
Celeste -- so I'm not the only one who tried a little eyebrow break-dancing after watching that clip? :D