The calendar tells me Johnnie is now four years old. I find that hard to believe, but who can argue with time? We celebrated over the weekend with a family party in our new backyard, and the highlights of the day were a giant inflatable slip'n slide bouncy house and a cake shaped like a princess (the birthday girl's express request). FOUR YEARS. I cannot believe it. I really just hope we haven't screwed her up too much yet, and that she knows how much we love her.

The calendar also tells me our sweet Willa Emmylou is almost three and a half months old and it's my third week back at work already. I've officially decided to cut back to 15-20 hours a week so I can spend more time at home (well, more like at the playground and the library) with my girls. I only have to go into the office one day a week, which is especially great since we live an hour away now, and I squeeze the rest of my hours into nap times and other in-between spaces. (Thanks, Willa, for being a generally great sleeper.) Johnnie starts preschool in two weeks, and that'll give me a better chance to get into a work routine. I think? I guess we'll see. Working part-time from home sounds like "having it all," but I know by now that all forms of "having it all" require extreme juggling skills and selectively neglecting various things while you attend to others. As long as the neglected things aren't my husband or kids, I feel like it'll be okay. (I think this type of arrangement only works if you're a glutton for punishment, which I am of course.) It's been a little challenging, but so far we're doing okay. It really is nice to contribute to something in the wider world, though, and to be among adults thinking about adult-like things. If for some reason or another I end up "retiring" and staying home for awhile, I will most definitely miss that. A lot. In fact, it kind of scares me.

So we're just taking things one day and one week at a time. Baltimore County schools started back this week, and suddenly the weather is cooling a bit and there are kids carrying lacrosse sticks everywhere. This has been a great summer (yay maternity leave!), and I hate to see it go... but there's so much to look forward to. A new routine to create, new milestones for Willa, new friends for Johnnie. I'm trying not to blink.

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