Thursday, May 29, 2014

This weekend, we...

...scoured our kitchen for the makings of an impromptu picnic with Grandma Kelly.  We sprawled on a quilt, got some sun, and laughed at Mila in her new sun hat.

...tried salchipapas at La Calle, our latest restaurant on our new and improved College Hill.  Holy moly this place is good...give me all the chimichurri sauce.

..."relaxed" on the deck with Cruz.  He wasn't feeling a nap one afternoon, so we ate some goldfish crackers and talked in our backyard.  

...went hiking at Hartman Reserve early Saturday morning.  Before showers or breakfast, we picked up some donuts, coffee, and a new Ergo carrier from Target, and went exploring.  Mila fell asleep and we let Cruz be our guide as we trudged through this beautiful landscape.  We spotted deer and several 'Turbos', aka snails, made wishes on dandelion wisps, took breaks on tree trunks.  By far the best way to start a long summer weekend.

...graduation partied with my former students.  Beau and Cruz were good sports as the girls donned over Mila and reminisced with me.

...hung out with this girl on her new quilt I scored last weekend.

...played at the playground before bedtime.  Pushed Cruz on the swings and let Mila join us on the curly slide.  Cruz thought it was hilarious.  Mila...confused, but curious. :)  

...detoured in between parties and found ourselves on the patio at Mulligans on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Holding chubby babies in onesies and sipping on Summit Summer Ale is the good life - and it was nearly impossible to stop at one...

...went for a walk in the dark and I heard my first June bug.

...tooks naps in unmade beds.

...hung out with new friends at a perfect Memorial Day barbecue.  A plate of all the seasonal staples, grilled chicken, tomato slices, deviled eggs, and watermelon, in hand, kids running in the backyard with quilt capes tied around their necks, and citronella candles surrounding us on the patio as we held sleeping babies with one hand and ate pie ala mode with the other.

...had a Jimmy Johns picnic at our favorite playground.  Mila got her first taste of grass and Cruz his first mosquito bite.  We followed it up with our first Tropical Sno of the season.

...had an impromptu sprinkler party in our front yard.  In our clothes.  We pretended the water was Dr. Doom's force field.  Cruz thought it was the bees knees.  

...ended our weekend with carry-out pizza and chocolate shakes on the back deck.  And sidewalk chalk.  Always sidewalk chalk.

Hope you had a wonderfully long weekend and a great kickoff to summertime! :)         

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2014"

Cruz: Never stops talking.  Lately, he likes to tell us all about Jacob, a little boy who we've decided doesn't exist.  According to Cruz, he lives in Africa with a mommy who likes to go shopping and a daddy who is at the office.  Beau and I got a kick out of that correlation! 

Mila:  This little girl is a regular rollie pollie now.  She rolled onto the grass from her blanket while at the park yesterday and was fascinated with the tickly blades of grass.  And her denim ruffle butt bloomers are my favorite staple in her closet.  There's just nothing like chubby baby legs in the summertime... 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Sometimes, having two is tough.  I feel stretched as I do my best to meet both of their needs all the time, and feel that familiar mom-guilt seep in as I fail at the unrealistic ideal I've formed in my head.  One minute, I quietly murmur, It will get better, and the very next, I literally ache at the thought of them getting old.  I live in the trenches of motherhood, of balance, of bouncing between the ebb and the flow like a pinball machine just trying to find her resting place.  

And then I watch them together.  

I watch how her little mouth opens up like a baby bird when he gets close, how she seems to hang on to every word he says as if it's the sweetest sound she's ever heard.  And him, how he tests the waters with us almost daily, yet has been nothing but sweet, loving, and incredibly patient with her since the day we brought her into his life.  I've witnessed a new kind of love watching them as brother and sister.  A love that is innocent, effortless, and accepting.  I may not do everything right when it comes to this balance thing, but watching their bond blossom and flourish has been one of my greatest gifts.   


Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Summer Bucket List

Oh man are we ready for summer around here.  It's not only going to be my first summer as a mama to two, but it's going to be full of big and small adventures for our family of four.  We have big trips planned, a family wedding and another tuxedo for our ring bearer, a 30th birthday for this girl, and a few other big changes to prepare for and celebrate.  When I think back to last summer, it was exactly the summer I dream of.  Total leisure.  Cruz and I spent our days at home or at the playground, we picnicked, explored, and I soaked up the warmth from that unforgettable pregnancy glow I felt as we were blessed with the news of baby #2.  And now, a year later, she's here and I'm so excited to spend this summer making new memories for our family.  There's a lot in store for us and I hope we can balance all the good that comes with it with the joys of just another ordinary, simple summer at home.  

I've been making summer bucket lists for a few summers now and this was the first year Cruz could really contribute.  We hang it on the wall in our kitchen and it becomes a wonderful list for keeping us inspired and creative throughout the summer.  The list is filled with favorite things of ours - Saturday mornings at the Farmer's Market, baseball games and picnic nights, our favorite summer foods, and simple ways to play in our own backyard.  There's no pressure with this list, just a fun approach to keeping us intentional during these months that fade away much too quickly.  I've always loved living in the Midwest because we know how to make the most of our seasons while they last. 

So here's our 2014 Summer Bucket List.  And 2013 and 2012 if you're curious...:)

1.  Go fishing...pack a picnic, of course.
2.  Go on a bear hunt
3.  Another outdoor movie night, preferably before Aaron sides his garage :)
4.  Disney World!!! (more on this later)
5.  Des Moines Farmers' Market
6.  Take Cruz to a Waterloo Buck's game
7.  Family picnic night to a new place
8.  Play at the ballpark, turn on the lights and run the bases
9.  Have a water balloon fight
10. Wash the car in our driveway, the old school way
11. Cruz and Mom date
12. Cruz and Dad date
13. Mom and Dad date night
14. Make a pitcher (or two) of sangria
15. Pick some strawberries at Heartland Farms
16. Spend a Saturday on the parkade - breakfast burritos, window shopping, and Scratch cupcakes for dessert
17. Build a sandcastle on the beach
18. Blow bubbles
19. Play hop-scotch 
20. Visit the Waterloo Sports Plex
21. Coffee and donut picnic at the playground
22. Grow a butterfly
23. Go to a parade
24. Paint masterpieces outside
25. Eat sno-cones
26. Play in the rain
27. Play superheroes 
28. Mom and spa date
29. Run a 5K
30. Mini, unplanned road trip to a new place
31. Feed the ducks
32. Explore the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids
33. Lay on the grass and tell stories about the clouds
34. Story time at the Arboretum
35. Go on a walk at bedtime
36. Buy some fresh flowers
37. Eat at the taco truck on Main
38. Clean out our closets
39. Start making baby food for Mila
40. Plant our garden - try something new // make homemade garden markers with Cruz
41. Girls' outing - tea and crafting
42. Make dirt about bugs
43. Spend a day at the zoo
44. Bake a cake with fresh lavender from the garden
45. Visit Daddy at work
46. Stay-home date night...drink whiskey and play cribbage on the deck
47. Paint Mila's toenails 
48. Read books under a shade tree
49. Fly a kite
50. Eat root beer floats and stay up late


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2014"

Cruz:  Out of all the pictures I have of Cruz this week, this is a sweet moment I want to remember.  Friday morning I was struggling, attempting to find balance and failing to get much of anything done.  Then, just like that, Mila went to sleep in her crib and Cruz eased into a morning of pretend.  I sat at the table, writing out graduation cards and paying bills, serenaded by this little boy at play.  I love this picture because it shows pieces of our song right now - dinosaurs and race cars, leftover sketches on our chalk wall, bed head and superhero shirts.  He kept repeating the phrase, "Start. Your. Engines" over and over again.  I love watching him completely lose track of the world around him and I revel in these messes, for it means a happy boy and a gracious mommy.

Mila:  We've got Mila's nights on a pretty consistent routine, however, in the last week or so she went from sleeping for hours in her swing to hardly napping during the day at all.  She's still happier than ever, just doesn't seem to want to miss a beat at home.  That is, until this morning.  I've working all morning on sorting through her winter clothes and transitioning her closet to spring.  She was laying in her crib watching me and started to get a little fussy.  I handed her a soft baby doll and she instantly grabbed it with both hands and held it close to her face.  A few minutes later, I looked down and realized she was fast asleep in her crib!  I just checked on her and she's still hugging that little dolly, sleeping with the windows open and the birds singing her a lullaby...     

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our Spring Weekend

I'm writing this blog post from a hotel room, sprawled out across my king-sized bed with my breast pump on one side of me and a big piece of cherry cheesecake on the other.  I'm in Des Moines for a work meeting and just got upgraded to a 'cozy cottage' suite at the hotel I'm staying at because my TV didn't work in my room.  It's a shame no one is here to share this place with me.  It's larger than our first duplex and has a fireplace, a vaulted ceiling, a four-poster bed, and a ginormous whirlpool tub.  Let's just say it pays to be pleasant when you're asked to switch rooms at 8:00 at night!  Beau is holding down the fort at home and keeps sending me updates about the kids.  I just got a picture text from him, a cheesy-faced Cruz eating a quesadilla at Pablos with a sleeping Mila beside him.  They got cupcakes on the way home and the babies (and daddy) seem to be surviving just fine without me.  While I thoroughly enjoyed my Boulevard and fish tacos at the Cheesecake Factory and plan to sink deep into these covers for what may be my first full night's sleep since January, I am missing piling into Cruz's bed for family story time, and missing my crazy family.  Tomorrow, we meet again.

Speaking of crazy, we had a busy busy weekend, full of fun, fulfilling, but exhausting days.  Beau and I sank into bed last night feeling refreshed, but also as if the weekend got away from us a bit.  Such is life with two kids I'm learning.  What would take an hour without kids, takes two hours with Cruz, and now, at least three, if not four, especially when Mila decides to forgo her naps as she seemed to do this weekend.  I'd put her in her crib, turn on her music, tiptoe outside to dig my hands in the garden, and just as they'd sink into the soil, I'd hear her chattering from the open window beside me and find her smiling from ear to ear, ready to be part of the action.  So, I dressed in her denim overalls, and she helped us garden, lounging in the shade beside us as we planted what will soon be her first tastes of squash, sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots.  We got our seeds in the ground this weekend and it seems summer has officially found its place in our backyard.

Beau took a half day on Friday and the four of us ventured to Stillwater Greenhouse to pick up our veggies and flowers.  I've been traveling to this place since before Beau and I were married and I can't imagine buying my plants anywhere else.  This year, Cruz was so excited to assist us, and the two of us had fun wearing our hats and planning our produce lists...that is, until he met, Christa, a little Mennonite girl who started following us around at the greenhouse.  She and Cruz were born the same month and year and they looked as though they could be brother and sister.  They fancied each other and reminded me of two sixteen year old kids, Cruz acting goofy and attempting to show off and this sweet little blue eyed girl with pigtails, carrying her baby doll, smiling sweetly and watching his every move.  They hardly spoke, but followed each other around, giggling together every now and then.  It was absolutely adorable to watch and Beau and I both felt bad when it was time to go.  I'm sure we'll see her next year and it will be a fun story to tell our little heart breaker as we continue to go back and visit her family's greenhouse.


Saturday, Mila and I joined my sister-in-law, niece, mom and grandma on a girl's adventure.  We met at Little Prairie Girl for some crafting and then had lunch at the tea room in Aplington.  We rarely do things just us girls and it was fun take our time and not worry about keeping the men in our life entertained.  Beau fully embraced his morning with just Cruz, and talked up their 'guys' day' all morning long.  So while I was scoring a new patchwork quilt and diving into a piece of coconut cake at the Peppercorn Pantry, Beau and Cruz had pancakes and bacon at J's, and hiked for two hours in the 'forest', otherwise referred to as Hartman Reserve.  They had so many stories to tell me when Mila and I returned and it was pretty cute hearing about their adventures.

Sunday, in between graduation parties, grocery shopping, and laundry catch up, we lived outside and planted the makings of our third annual backyard garden.  It was gorgeous outside, perhaps the nicest day we've had yet, and we took our time filling our garden beds with produce, laying beside Mila under our shade tree, and pushing Cruz on his tree swing.  We opened the windows, washed our hands from the garden hose, and lost about four pacifiers in the backyard grass --- signs of a day well spent.  

This year, we planted seven different kinds of tomatoes, including our favorite orange 'sun sugars' from last year.  We planted five different peppers and our favorite herbs and spices - sweet basil, rosemary, apple mint, lavender, cilantro, and Italian parsley.  We're climbing sugar snap peas, pickles, and green beans up our trellis', and are trying our hand at butternut squash, kale, sweet potatoes, and zucchini for the first time.  We're prepared for them to take over our backyard!  The best addition to our garden this year is a chicken wire fence around each bed that will hopefully keep the bunnies from destroying our peppers and beans like they have in the past.  Beau and I both agreed that we may have over planted, but we say that every year.  We take a 'survival of the fittest' approach to our gardening and it's always fun to see what we end up with.  Typically, it's tomatoes coming out of our ears and enough mint for three years' of mojitos!

We were still outside when the sun began to set over our house and my feet felt that familiar place in the damp grass as I watered our garden and surveyed our weekend's handiwork.  Another summer in this yard, with a little boy who scored not one, but two Angry Birds' band-aids in one day, and a baby girl who squeals in delight when she watches her brother in his swing.  It's a wild, but precious life we're living and I'm determined to soak up every drop of its nourishment this summer.  

More images from our weekend...



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...