Word of the Week: Effulgently

Editor's note:  I intended all last week to do a proper Mackinac post, with more pictures and lots of details, but here I am doing another word-of-the-week post with only a little SPT and holiday good wishes separating this "wow" and last week's.    A bit of vacation lag, I suppose, but I have more good intentions for this coming week.  (Ugh...I started this post two days ago and am watching all my good intentions die a slow, sad little death.)

effulgently  /adv./  shining forth brilliantly.  radiantly.  giving off light readily or in large amounts.  brightly.  luminously.  resplendently.

effulgently  /adv./  1.  We spent the week at David's parents' house, enjoying their little town and all of its charms.  David was born and raised here, but he never talked very effulgently about it, though I find it nothing but delightful.  I went to yoga at a little studio downtown on Tuesday afternoon and took a much-needed class.  On Thursday evening, we went to a concert by the Tridge (which is a 3-sided bridge) and then walked around Main Street window shopping and had pizza and the best ice cream I think I've ever had at Pizza Sam's.  We went back for more ice cream on Friday night and closed the place down.

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effulgently  /adv./  2.  David and I went to dinner with our very good friends, Gary and Sara, on Wednesday night.  David and Gary grew up together and have been friends their entire lives.    Sara moved in during high school, and I happened along last and just feel lucky to know any of them.  It doesn't matter how long it's been since we've gotten together, it is instant joy to be reunited.  When we're with them, I laugh until the endorphins are just charging through me, and I feel crazy in love with all of them.  It really makes me just incredibly happy, and I left dinner smiling effulgently and wishing it wasn't so late so that we could talk for a few hundred more hours.

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I snapped this picture on Sunday afternoon after the baptism of Sara and Gary's second son.  They blessed their fifth baby in Sacrament meeting this same Sunday.  We felt so lucky to share in all their joy.

effulgently  /adv./  3.  On Thursday we went to the Chippewa Nature Center and saw a whole lot of nature.  I kept throwing my arms out and saying, "Look at all this nature!"  To which David only indulgently smiled.  It really is quite astounding though.  The kids wanted to find frogs and armed with buckets and a fishing net they headed through the tall grass near the ponds.  Luckily, they didn't end up covered in poison ivy and actually found two very tiny frogs.  The girls effulgently carried them around in their red, plastic buckets, naming and mothering them, and sniffing a bit when it was time to let them go.  (We found out later that you have to step in the muck and wade through the nature to find the big frogs, but the girls were happy enough with their tiny ones.)  We saw cardinals and blue jays and other birds I've only read about or watched play baseball.  It was just incredible to see them in real life. 

On our way out we stopped by the Chippewa River and I told the kids to take off their shoes and wade in the river.  They said, "What's wading?"  Okay, there are some serious gaps in their childhoods here.  So I demonstrated and Caleb and I waded out to the middle of the river, just for fun.  The girls waded out and found some freshwater mussel shells and Olivia reverently declared them, "The most beautiful thing I've ever seen" and proceeded to fill her bucket to the brim.

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effulgently  /adv./  4.  Our plans for the 4th of July  changed a bit mid-day, and we ended up staying in town for the fireworks.  We had a spectacular show on the grass near the Tridge and didn't even get eaten by mosquitoes as the city sprays the park really good in the days leading up to the show.  My favorite part of every show is watching my children's faces light up effulgently as the "bombs burst in air." 

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(Incidentally, we had sparklers a few nights later as it was after midnight when we got home from the "big fireworks."  Of course Ethan burned his hand on the sparklers and cried anytime his hand was out of cold water the rest of the night.  My just desserts for bad-mouthing the Arizona legislature, I presume.)

effulgently  /adv./  5. We made it out to Wixom Lake on Saturday and had a great time tubing and jet-skiing...there was no waterskiing as the lake was busy and choppy, but my back was grateful for the reprieve.  Savannah was completely terrified of tubing, as last year she had a bad experience on the lake and wasn't about to forget it.  (One of the things my girls do best is remember their sufferings and/or tragedies.)  After a bit of prodding, I talked her into going with me on a "nice, slow ride" on an "easy tube," and she reluctantly got on with me and placed a white-knuckle grip on the tube.  We had a bit of trouble at first because she wanted to go so slowly that the tube couldn't plane on top of the water and we kept going under which completely terrified her.  But eventually we found a speed she could handle and she grinned effulgently at me and said, equally surprised and chagrined, "I like tubing.  I didn't know that." 

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This was a "before" shot...Savannah is still uncertain about the decision to trust me.

effulgently  /adv./  6.  This week we also got to see David's brother, Jon, and his sister, Cyndi, and their families.  We spent most of the 4th together and then went to the lake with Cyndi and Jason (her husband) on Saturday.  My kids loved playing and swimming with their cousins, and I love that they get to spend these rare moments enjoying each other.  On Sunday we went to church with Cyndi and Jason and their kids, and Caleb sat with them in the row ahead of us next to his cousin, Tyler.  I had to swallow hard against the rising lump in my throat as I listened to these two, sitting side-by side, effugently and loudly singing out the words of the hymns, especially as they belted out, "the veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst."

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Ethan and Caleb on the lawn with their two "Michigan" boy cousins.

effulgently  /adv./  7.  My in-laws are so good to let us come and invade their sanctuary for four weeks (can you believe this kind of hospitality?!), and are so generous to the kids with their time and hugs and care.  David's mom has MS and so she is down in bed a bit, but the kids just love to climb on her bed and get their one-on-one chat time.  The kids guard these moments jealously and sneak up to see her whenever they can.  Both of David's parents have such of gift of really listening and the kids just soak it up.  They emerge from these impromtu sessions beaming effulgently and busting with pride and self-esteem.  Bless them.