August was an armpit this year, and I’m glad to see September ushered in. We’re kicking the month off this Labor Day with one of my favorite activities – something that has become a tradition (this is the second year, so it’s a new tradition): making grape jelly.

I’ve been snapping pictures and chronicling the process in my head. I’ve been watching my mother-in-law’s hands, busy at the work of smashing grapes and straining through an old pillowcase. I noted my father-in-law’s hands as we worked together in the breezy shade early yesterday afternoon, and I listened to his stories of when he grew up. And I watched my three-year-old flit in an out, taking it all in.

The smell of grapes will – and does – mean Labor Day and jelly-making and family time to me.

September isn’t a great month for family time, usually. But this month, my little brother (“Uncle Sailor”) will be making a visit and my other little brother will play football in a college stadium (he’s only in 5th grade; this is a pretty big deal!). In September, depending on how things go with that storm that sent our family evacuating out of their home in the New Orleans area, we might also get to see them.

So, this month, I am resolving to do a little thing and be better about family communications. (YIKES! That’s not a little thing!) I’d like to spend time with some of the family members I meant to see through the summer and…just. never. did.

I would also like to be more patient with my three-year-old, but I’m pretty sure THAT resolution will take more than one month to accomplish…

*New Month’s Resolutions, which Michelle inspired me to start, are “short-term commitments; they are easily attained goals; they focus on what is needed right now, instead of what is best for a lifetime.” I don’t always remember to keep them small or easily attained, but I do appreciate the practice of pausing at the beginning of each month to consider where I should focus my energy.