Monday, July 17, 2017
The Fourth of July weekend has come and gone and it seems to have taken our slow June days right along with it. I swear it's like this every year - as soon as the 4th is over, summer just scoots on by in the blink of an eye and leaves me grieving and a little grumpy. July is filled with travel and baseball games and so much fun in store, but June and its simple days at home with breakfast smoothies at the kitchen island, new routines and morning chores, library crafts and new books, freezy pops and trampoline hangs and picnics will forever be my favorite. Someday, I want to read this blog and recall just how sweet this last month has been. I feel so grateful to be home and did my very best to not take a minute of it for granted.
Gosh, these kids of mine leave me breathless. Mila is in this really sweet stage where she can enter her own little world of play and entertain herself for hours. She talks to herself with her stuffies and can completely drown out the world around her. I watched her at the pool today, ducking her Sofia mermaid doll in and out of the water like a dolphin, walking through the water amidst dozens of kids, completely oblivious to everything around her. I watched her mesmerized, and remembered Cruz at this age, too, his chubby tan legs and white head of hair, making motor noises with his cars in that way only a little boy can do. And just like that, he's six and riding down all those waterslides over and over again, all by himself, big and proud and full of simple dreams of tropical sno after swimming and games of dead man with his favorite neighbor friends.
Naptime is my favorite time of day, not because I earn an hour or two of quiet, but because it's my daily invitation to pause, be still, and drink in all those details I'm so often guilty of missing. Mila can be a pistol at naptime, sometimes trying to con her way out, today with a suitcase full of "things for a movie night", but if I persist, her favorite dream blankie and a promise to snuggle and rub her back always lures her in. Mila only sleeps under her big comforter for "long naps" (which means bedtime in Mila's world), and prefers her muslin dream blanket for "short naps." I cover her up and then lay beside her, smooth out her soft, snarly curls, and sing her Come Thou Fount. Sometimes, I let my mind wander, but not today. Today, I feel how soft the space is between her ear and her neck, notice her perfectly smooth, tan arm, and watch her lips pierce together and look just as they did when she was a newborn. I sing her her favorite song, surprised that my own voice, which I've always thought to be a little off, has lulled her to sleep for over three and a half years. Soon, I start to feel that achingly sweet heartbreak of being a mom to a little person who grows up and won't always need me to lay beside her at naptime. But today she does, so I stay in this moment with her for a little bit longer.
Friday, July 14, 2017
"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017."
Cruz: You have a small fascination with "Now Hiring" signs and can spot them all over town lately. So far, you have shown the most interest in working at Target, but also think you would make a pretty good server at a restaurant. And the first thing you told Daddy when we met him for lunch today was that his dreams could finally become a reality: Pablos is hiring. ;)
Mila: My favorite thing you say lately is "first of all." This usually comes out when you are stating your case about something. You also like to say "Oh my pie" and we have no idea where that came from. I blame everything on the movie Trolls, as you've seemed to absorb pretty much everything about that movie.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Our 4th of July this year was full of some favorite traditions. Although, we missed Beau this year because he unfortunately caught whatever flu bug I had acquired the week prior. So while he stayed home to catch up on rest and the DVR, I dressed the kids in their red, white, and blue best and headed just a little west on Hwy. 3 for the annual Shell Rock Days parade.
I love so much about this simple day. I love the long line of cars lined up on Hwy. 3, waiting to turn into this small little town that fills its streets and sky with people and fireworks just one time a year. I love the kids in their festive clothes, lined up on Mexican blankets with their American flags and ziploc bags. I love the shiny red vintage fire trucks, the veterans we stand for in reverence, and that familiar sound of the siren signaling its time to start. I love that the kids' personalities all shine through during the parade, Charly's shyness, Cruz's assertiveness, and Hayes and Mila and their disheveled but adorable independence, and that at the end of the day, they all just love each other and secretly throw extra Tootsie rolls into each others' bags to make sure they each have enough. I love that this year, Mila and Harper seemed most content on their Grandma and Great Grandma's laps, and that Mila started in a fit of tears when she didn't get the first of the thrown candy, and five minutes later, decided she had enough and didn't chase after a single piece.
I love Fred and Robi's old red barn, the little kitties that come out from all sides of their property to greet us, and how perfect Mila's famous twirly dress looked up against its coordinating backdrop. I love spending the afternoon under Mom and Dad's Ash tree, tickling and snuggling babies on that soft quilt, and dishing hot dogs, baked beans, and Mom's famous potato salad onto star plates. I love the slowness of the afternoon, the smiles and squeals from the slip 'n slide, and the familiar signs it's time to make our way home when the kids get whiney. It's a simple, sweet, and perfectly American way to spend our nation's birthday, celebrating the beauty of our country and its freedom together.
Some pictures of our day...
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
After my quick bout with the stomach flu, followed by a busy weekend in Nebraska, we started the day Monday convincing Beau to take the day off and spend it with us. He was pretty easy to convince, especially when I came home with donuts and coffee from Starbucks!
We talked him into taking us all to the Falls, our first time as a family this summer. Surprisingly, the pool was quiet and we enjoyed a solid hour or so of the water slides pretty much to ourselves. Mila is a dream at the pool lately, and I enjoyed some time in my beach chair with my baseball hat, Beau's Raybans, and my book. And then Cruz talked Beau into trying one of the pool hot dogs (our favorite) and we were all happy campers. ;)
We spent Monday night at Brian and Angie's, eating smoked ribs, drinking red, white, and blue bomb pops, and congregating around the firepit with s'mores, sparklers, and all the neighbor's fireworks. This was a memorable year for the firework craziness alone as Iowa officially opened up a window for legal firework use, which has proven to be quite controversial depending on who you are talking to. I had gotten so used to hearing fireworks every night leading up to the actual 4th that I must admit, they lost their luster by the time I usually enjoy them! Even so, the kids got to play with fire and had a ball doing so! Even Mila got to be in on the fun this year, and probably gave Angie a near heart attack as she ran the perimeter of their backyard with every freshly lit sparkler. I think we all breathed a little better once the box was gone!
Our night was laid-back Americana. The kids had melted marshmallows stuck to their cheeks and dirt on their feet, there were dance parties with playlists that included a mix of Justin Timberlake and Lee Greenwood, and as soon as the sun settled in the sky, the lightning bugs and fireworks lit it back up again. We celebrated America with friends, food, and fireworks, and went to bed ready to do it all over again the next day!
More pictures from our pre-party!
Cruz wanted to take a picture of Mila and me. I just love it!