My youngest brother is here for the week, and my girls are just beside themselves. I picked him up at the airport last night, and they’ve been crawling all over him since. He’s on his way to his new duty station after spending two years in Germany, not far from our middle brother and his young family, and stopped here in Maine to see us. We’re excited to have him for keeps when his enlistment ends, a little more than a year from now.

While J did homework and the girls hung out with their uncle and grandparents, I drove over to help a friend set up for the winter clothing swap she was hosting today. She’s the owner of the yoga studio here, and I love the way she uses her space to support the community. I’ve never attended a swap, and though I love the idea, I was a little skeptical as to whether people would embrace the spirit of the event and bring useful items to share rather than keeping them to sell themselves. Happily, they did, far beyond what I expected. So many useful items! I didn’t have much to swap for adults, but had some little girls’ clothes and shoes, and a pair of brand new work boots that never quite fit J. I came home with sneakers and boots for the girls, boots and a couple of tops for myself, and a really great chunky sweater. Even more, I got to spend a little bit of time chatting with the mamas of our community, and experience the kindness of those bringing items specifically with my girls in mind. A hot cup of tea, a lot of smiles and chatter, and I was on my way home again.

We did a little internet research today, out of curiosity about our adopted home state and after casually chatting about where my brother might settle when he separates from the Army. In terms of population density, we grew up in the 9th most populated state (Pennsylvania) and moved here from the 5th most densely populated state (Maryland). Maine drops in close to the bottom ten at #38; according to the 2010 census, we live in the least populated state east of the Mississippi River. And while the large western states have the most military veterans purely by number, here in Maine, roughly one in ten people are vets. Some interesting statistics that support much of what we’ve determined anecdotally since moving here.

Tonight we’re belatedly celebrating my mom’s birthday with cake and family, the first time this crew of us have been in the same place in over a year. I’d love to hear how your weekend went, and what you’re hoping for in the days ahead!



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