I don't want to forget last Friday night, for the weather or the fun we had. We were blessed with this sweet pocket of sunshine most of last week, as well as the kind of warm temperatures that called for windows down, sunglasses on, and ice cream in the car on the way home from work. The familiar aroma of summertime was in the air and I felt an extra spring in my step as I powered through the work week and looked ahead to the weekend.
Our contractor spent most of the day at our house on Friday, replacing some window screens that didn't make it through the build, assembling my screens for my beloved french door, and power washing the entire exterior of the house, washing away the dirt and allowing us to finally enjoy our front and back deck. The house sparkled by the time I got home from work, adding a little more excitement to our weekend. Our build is finally coming to an end, and Beau and I decided to celebrate just the two of us for a little bit before getting our littles from school. We snuck off to Mulligans, sipped Goose Islands on the patio, and soaked in the sun as we planned our summers and how to arrange our porch.
As any local knows, the outdoor patio at Mulligans is one of the finest places in town to sip a cold beverage on a warm summer day. It's also nestled in the heart of a wonderful network of bike trails that connect the entire Cedar Valley. As we enjoyed our alone time and uninterrupted conversation, we watched bicycle after bicycle go by and started getting the itch to join them. We weren't there but a half hour before we decided to get the kids from school, load up the bike trailer, and hit the trails to explore the best routes from our new neighborhood. The weather was absolutely perfect for a bike ride, aka, there was no wind at all, quite the rarity for this time of year (especially lately). We didn't get off to the best start, not pulling out of our driveway until after 5; however, decided to make the most of it, find dinner along the way, and ride until the sun went down.
We did just that and had one of the most relaxed nights in our recent history. We found that our neighborhood is just blocks away from a newly constructed under and overpass system, with brand new concrete trails, a lighted tunnel that fascinated the kids, and an elaborate pedestrian bridge that I've driven under a hundred times but never had the opportunity to see from the other side. The kids were more than happy to sit back and ride in their trailer, baggies of goldfish and teddy grahams to keep them content and bumps and impromptu races to make them giggle.
We rolled onto University around suppertime and decided to pop a squat and eat dinner at the park. We got Happy Meals for the kids (and actually tried to order them on our bikes through the drive through), and tacos at our only food truck in town (that I know of). Then, we wrote under the magnolia trees to one of our favorite parks on Seerley for french fries, tacos, and superheros on the swings.
I should say, moments of this picnic were anything but pretty. I had failed to pack much of anything beyond my favorite quilt and camera, and we had no wet wipes, no sippy cups, and no lures to entice either one of them. Mila tried to drink the sweet and sour sauce and spilled it all over the quilt, then accidentally knocked over Cruz's chocolate milk (also all over the quilt), which immediately prompted a major fit on brother's part, and by the time I got to my tacos, they were soggy and left much to be desired. Our kids were sticky, slimy, and slightly crabby, but we had a long ride home and nowhere to be in the meantime. So, we played. Cruz learned to pump his legs on the swings and Mila learned that she loved to go down the big slide all by herself. We stayed until the sun started setting and rode home refreshed and feeling free as birds.
I adore this little series of pictures. Mila is as much of a fan of Happy Meals as the rest of em, but she's proven to be much more adventurous eater than her brother. She was far more interested in our tacos (with hot sauce) than her chicken nuggets. :)
We pulled into our driveway past bedtime, but had one more job to do before tucking our sleepy sprites in bed. We stuck their filthy toes in a bubble bath, gave them freezy pops to appease their moods, and all sat in the bathroom together, feeling summertime deep in our bones.
It was the best of nights. The sticky-fingered, dirty-cheeked, fresh-aired kind of night that only summertime can bring.