This blog has provided me many things over the years I've been keeping it, one thing being a nice set of Mary Oliver glasses, continually reminding me to "pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it." It helps me recognize the beauty in the everyday moments and relive it through images and words I hope to one day look back on and remember with a smile on my face. And this summer of mine has been one long Mary Oliver poem. It's been busy, it's been messy, possibly messier than it's ever been, but there's more beauty than I can even document. I sit here and laugh as I think about the messy part --- our poor fish whose bowl of water has evaporated to just a couple inches, begging for a good cleaning, a car I finally decided to clean out this weekend, only to discover a leftover baby bottle under the seat that had turned to unexplainable colors, and the splatters of beets, carrots, and applesauce on the kitchen floor as we now include Mila in on family dinners around the table. And to think I used to say my house was ever dirty!
But amidst the food splatters and drought-ridden fishbowl, this summer has been one of the happiest of my life. I think the busier life gets, the more you are forced to reevaluate what is important and where you put your time. And these days of piling in our bed in the morning instead of hopping in the shower, of sitting by the edge of the pool watching Mila's tan feet do frog kicks in the water, and snuggling in next to Cruz under crisp, but disheveled white sheets for his afternoon nap, these are the days I choose them. These are the days I pay attention to the way Mila concentrates on Cruz's face right before she grabs his hair with both hands, the way Cruz so nonchalantly play race cars with Mila as I prepare lunch, saying things like, "Watch out for giant baby" as he drives them up her legs and down her arms, and how contentedly she sits and plays with her toys on a quilt from afar while we take Cruz for a little batting practice at the baseball field. I sit astonished sometimes, realizing in awe that this life is exactly the way I dreamed it to be. And although I may not always have the time to write about these simple moments when they occur, I just want to remember how happy I felt this first summer of raising the two of them.
Before welcoming August and the end of this summer, a few of our happy moments from July...
...Dance parties with Cruz. They made a revival the other night when I was struggling to remember the name of a Disney song I heard played often at Animal Kingdom. I was attempting to sing it to Beau who was no help whatsoever, and finally sought out Google's help. They, as always, came through for me, and Cruz and I danced to Shoo Bop, Shee Do from Tarzan, along with a few other beloved Disney soundtracks. We ended the night begging Daddy to borrow his Kindle for bedtime stories and downloading a new Frozen book about Olaf.
...Impromtu nights at the ball park with cousins. We met Jordan, Kelli, and the kiddos at one of their favorite spots to play in the summer, a set of ball diamonds right behind UNI's campus. There is a really pretty diamond out there, complete with a grass infield, a drinking fountain, and a picturesque backdrop of prairie flowers, rolling hills, and a perfect view of the summer sunset. We picked up some take out and let the kids take turns batting while we chased them around the bases and made Mila smile. We stayed 'til sunset and had so much fun. I am very thankful to have cousins so close in distance and in age and I love these spontaneous adventures together.
...Saturday nights at the playground before bed. We took the kids on a walk in the double stroller and stopped at the playground behind our neighborhood. It was a simple night of superheros with Cruz and swinging with Mila for the very first time. I sat in the mulch in front of her swing, pretended to eat her toes as they got closer to me, and was swept back to three summers ago, pushing Cruz in the same white onesie, in the same swing. Pretty surreal, to see those living proof moments of how fast they grow.
...Those first few attempts to pick up those puffs. I've officially cleaned off that fourth kitchen chair that's been serving as office space for the past three years and Cruz has given up his highchair to his baby sis. We do meal time together now, and Mila spends most of it attempting to figure out how to pick up those sweet potato puffs we sprinkle on her tray. I love watching her cheeks sink as she concentrates on the prize, her sweet fingers attempt to pinch one, and her little gums suck away as I finally give in and place one in her mouth.
...A Sunday date with Cruz. I love these little adventures with my boy. Beau and Mila stayed home to watch the Cubs game and Cruz and I went to Applebees for lunch, Pursuing Picasso to paint some pottery, and Main Street Sweets for some candy treats. Cruz had an Oreo shake and a corn dog for lunch and we played "Five Little Speckled Frogs" while we waited for our food. My favorite part of the day was after picking out our little bag of candy at Main Street Sweets. Main Street was pretty quiet that afternoon and we found a bench right outside of Black Hawk Hotel. We shared our bag of candy and soon started a game that involved gummy bears losing limbs as we ate them. Cruz thought it was the funniest thing ever and his giggles were my fuel to continue the ridiculousness. We laughed all the way home and have already started planning our next 'date night.'
...Gorgeous summer nights with the windows open. I love the quietness that fills out house on these nights after we get the babies to bed. I usually walk around barefoot outside, grab the mail or the garbage can, water the garden, or sit and talk with Beau over a glass of wine. I catch a glimpse of their bedroom windows, and picture them sleeping inside. It is these little moments where I feel like such a mother, where the stress and chaos of the day just run like water off my shoulders and I feel so much peace in the thought of two sleeping kids tucked away in their beds.
...An unseasonably crisp night, perfect for a new footed sleeper for Mila and s'mores before bed. And a little peanut butter spread on your graham cracker??? Ah-mazing.
...Pizza picnic nights at the ballpark, a $5 pizza and some chocolate chip cookies, and a little baby perfectly content on her quilt, watching us play from afar. She chewed on her Sophie giraffe until I felt guilty watching her there, then Beau and I took turns holding her and chasing Cruz around the bases after he hit a ball. I'm not sure who loved it more, Cruz, as he giggled uncontrollably and ran to home plate, or Mila, who panted like a puppy, kicked her feet like a frog, and squealed like a seal, smiling from ear to ear as she got to be part of the action.
...A weekend of Irish fest. Friday night, Jennifer came to say with the kids and Beau and I met some friends downtown Waterloo to take part in our first Iowa Irish Fest. We drank Smithwicks and ate shepherd's pie, hung out on our friends balcony that overlooked the action on 4th Street, and had a blast watching Gaelic Storm perform in Lincoln Park. We had so much fun that we decided to take the kids back on Saturday night. This time, we had fish and chips, let Cruz play in the kid-zone, and danced with Mila to the Irish rock that filled the streets.
Sometimes, I get so much fulfillment from just making it work as a family of four. Spreading out a blanket in the middle of Irish fest, sticking straws through juice boxes for Cruz and feeding Mila her homemade carrots as the four of us share a quilt and these experiences together. Nothing is more satisfying than just making these three people in my family happy. And that, right now, is enough.
Welcome August. Bless us with more happy July-like moments and a smooth transition to a new routine for the Jorgensens.
Including preschool for this one...:)