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...