Thursday, April 23, 2015

Our Gorgeous Spring Weekend

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. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

a song for myself

Put the phone away and watch her fall asleep.  Sing her Timshel and tickle her cheeks while her eyes grow heavy.  Pay attention.  Read one more chapter of James and the Giant Peach with all the right voices.  Never refuse a bear hunt through the house.  Start the morning with Otis Redding.  Kiss Beau before work.  Take detours through the playground as much as possible.  Swing high and feel the breeze on your face.  Listen to Cruz’s superhero stories.  I mean really listen.  Tell him you love his imagination.  Be patient at suppertime.  Pour another glass of wine, dance in the kitchen, and pick Mila up when she’s wrapped around your leg.  Someday you’ll miss her on your hip.  Pray at every meal and savor every bite.  Let them climb dirt piles and eat freezy pops in the tub.  Take time to teach them little things, like how to crack an egg and how to apply lipstick.  They are always watching.  Slow down.  Smile.  Savor.      

Monday, April 20, 2015


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"

Cruz: Trying out his new bike on our new driveway, climbing our dwindling dirt pile, and slurping freezy pops in the bathtub pretty much summed up this guy's weekend.  

Mila: Oh, my disheveled little princess.  Absolutely hates to have her hair brushed, but loves anything that resembles a purse or necklace.  I replaced my belts for this sweet little necklace I found at Target and she wore it most of the day Saturday.  Dirty feet, sticky hands, and crystals around her neck.     

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"

Cruz: We took this guy and his cousins to the Cinderella movie on Saturday morning.  We wasn't too sure about it after seeing the movie poster and declaring it was a "grown up movie," but it kept his attention for the most part and he seemed to understand the message (for the most part).  For some odd known reason, he kept asking when it was going to be the part "where the sisters ripped Cinderella's shirt" and his favorite part was when the lizards and the goose turned into carriage footmen!

Mila: Mila's most recent favorite thing to do is our nightly bear hunt excursions through our house.  We have the board book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," and one night, I decided to take it to the next level and parade through our house, stopping in every room before discovering the bear, running into our bedroom, jumping into bed, and pulling the covers over our head.  Cruz and Mila loved this, and every night since, Mila will waddle to one our laps with the book in hand and start stomping her feet to initiate a hunt.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cruz at FOUR

A couple weeks ago, we had the opportunity to watch you in your first preschool program.  You had been anticipating this night for some time, practicing This Little Light of Mine in the car and informing me all about who likes to sing in your class and who doesn't.  I so look forward to milestone nights like these, little notches in the belt of growing bigger and opportunities to just sit and watch your unique little light shine bright.  

The night was hilarious and special for so many reasons.  Your great grandma and grandpa and Grandma Kelly came to watch, along with me, your dad, and your number one fan, Mila.  If I could only remember that moment you walked down the aisle with your class and spotted your sister for the first time.  You pointed and waved so cute, with absolute joy exploding from your face.  Mila was even more excited to see you, and I don't think she took her eyes off of you for a second as you found your place in the smack dab center of your big class.  As everyone prepared to take their place, I enjoyed a few minutes of complete heart melt watching the two of you just look at each other from afar, waving and smiling from ear to ear.  It was truly one of the sweetest moments I think I've ever witnessed and the show hadn't even begun.

For about thirty minutes, we watched you have the time of your life up there.  You knew the words to every song, repeated the actions to a tee, and even added a few of your own animated moves, which at first made me a little nervous. :)  My initial response was that I wanted you contained, compliant, and conformed, looking to do just what you were supposed to, following the lead of your teachers and blending in with the rest of your peers.  But the more I watched you, the more I questioned my reaction.  There you were, being nothing but yourself, completely unconcerned with any restrictions, just marching to the beat of your own drum.  And I tell ya, that beat was wild, but I'm not sure anyone else had more fun.  You remind me a quote by Steve Jobs, "If you want change agents, hire pirates.  It's more fun to be a pirate than join the navy." :)  Your whole life, conformity and the pressure to be somebody you may or may not want to be will creep behind you.  But as your mom, I want nothing more for you than to stay just as you were on that stage, happy and content and free to be just the little boy you want to be.  I can already begin to feel the pressures - pressure of what activities to get you into, what sports to start working on right now, what preschool is going to most prepare you for kindergarten.  And sometimes, for a second, I buy into it.  But then I watch you, and I am reminded very quickly that none of that matters.  It's about teaching you to explore and be curious,  to be kind always, to question, think, and try new things, and most importantly, do all of that as a big, bright light for Jesus.  You shined bright on that stage, little man, and we were very proud of you.


You are officially four and a half years old, and I tell you, I am loving this stage of your life.  You are sweet, smart, and so much fun to talk to and be around.  You come up with the funniest things and you have the best sense of humor!  I love you for so many reasons, but here are a few things I want to remember about you right now...

I love you because you have turned into the best little sleeper, staying in your bed all night long and earning two Cruz bucks in return.  You even go the bathroom in the middle of the night all by yourself.  Secretly, I miss snuggling with you in the middle of the night sometimes, but we make up for it with our early morning cuddles!

I love you because you are so sweet with your sister.  And even when you get a little tired of her always wanting the toy you are playing with, you quietly sneak off to your bedroom and shut the door instead of yelling at her. :)

I love that you are so excited to play t-ball with Charly this summer, but that you keep mistaking it for basketball.  I love that when you were watching basketball with us the other night, you kept shouting, "throw it to your friends!"

I love your giggle, especially when you think I am super funny.  

I love that you are an expert puzzle doer, and that you don't give up until it's all done. 

I love when you want to read James and the Giant Peach at night before bed instead of your superhero books.

I love that you get concerned about growing big and that you hug me really hard and tell me you want to live with me forever.  

I love the big words you use - the other day, you said, "Oh, that is so embarrassing."  I also like how you say the word "frustrating," "definitely," and "cooperate."  

I love that you have a heart for Jesus.  You've started asking more questions lately and I've loved the conversations they lead to.  

You are one pretty special boy and we totally adore this stage you are in.  I pray the next half of your year goes slow, because five sounds much too old.    


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