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It’s housekeeping time here. I mean this both literally (think: shopping for kettles, digging out winter clothes, stocking up on diapers) and figuratively (think: endless wrangles as I shift my children’s book website to a new platform).

Bogged down as I am with the tedious details, it’s easy to feel beleaguered. But even at my worst moments, I know this is a pretty cheerful swamp as swamps go — the mall may not be my idea of fun, but it’s not exactly life-threatening — and so most of the time I’m grateful just to be here, muddling along.

Other things I’m thankful for this week:

(1) Picture books that can stand up to dozens of re-readings. (Current favorites here include I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay, Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman, and A Good Day by Keven Henkes.)

(2) Faraway friends who send lovely, newsy letters — and close-by friends who share stories and lunch and the views out their window.

(3) Slow autumn walks with P, marveling at falling leaves and pine needles and maple helicopters. The trees here are a wonder to behold, and there’s no better company in which to observe them.

(4) The determination of P’s dad to spend plenty of time with P every day, even during the latest awful work crunch.

(5) Pumpkins everywhere. (If I’d known before how much joy they give to toddlers, I’d have made a point to set one out every year, and not skip it as we sometimes did. This month we’re making up for the odd lost year by setting out three pumpkins at once — and we’ll carve at least one of them tomorrow. Which should go a long way toward clearing my brain of fusty website housekeeping details.)

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