I'm writing this fully absorbed in vacation preparation mode, one day away from a weeklong trip to sunny California. I've got one more load of laundry to dry, eight days worth of packing to do, and a mental to do list running through my head as I pour milk over cereal, nurse skinned up knees, and turn on one last Daniel Tiger. Water the plants, pick the tomatoes, drop books off at the library, pick up the dry-cleaning. There's much to do, yet I love this kind of planning as much as I love the rush of the week before Christmas. Last night, Beau and I stayed up late last night, downloading free movies and books on two brand new Amazon Fires, one pink and one blue, scored on one heck-of-a great deal on Prime Day. We talked about our trip, a trip the kids at this point were completely in the dark about, and felt giddy making the final preparations for what is sure to be Christmas in July for the Jorgensen kids.
But before I dive into vacation, I sure don't want to let July go by without a good things post. From my early morning walks around the neighborhood, to my mint that is growing like crazy in places I didn't even plant it, to closing out Cruz's a-ball season with family and Rudy's tacos, summer has soaked itself deep into our skin and we are loving the color it's left.
539. Peanut butter jellies on the porch
540. Outdoor movie nights. I scored some cute shower caddies, these plastic popcorn tubs, and all the movie candy at the Dollar Tree, and invited my family over for pizza and a movie under the stars. The kids wore their pajamas and ran around the yard, we made a fire and toasted marshmallows, and watched Moana with glow necklaces and blankets and popcorn and sugar. Next, I dream of a outdoor movie date night - just me, the boy, and one of our favorite flicks.
Ah, the looks of the guilty. :)
541. Sundaes on Sunday afternoon. It was the Sunday of Sturgis Falls and we decided against taking our kids down to the money trap and instead declaring the unseasonably cool day as a veg day. We laid around and watched movies in the morning and played games in the afternoon. It was a good reset day and a nice little reminder that even though I will grieve when summer is over, fall will be there in all its glory.
542. Homemade bubbles in the backyard, two braids in Mila's hair, and the moms/teachers who let their kids run wild in the cul de sac and bond over driveway chats.
543. A Monday morning at the park. I surprised the kids with a box of donuts from Chicago and got an iced coffee for myself. Since the day was looking to be very hot, we got out early and park hopped until the library opened.
This boy is trying to finish his Waterloo Bucks reading log so he can score some tickets to the Kid Zone we never let him do. And he started reading chapter books this summer and I just love it.
544. When Mila isn't bossing the boys around outside, she's usually wandering around the house with a baby or a stuffy, completely immersed in her own imaginative world. I love this age because she is perfectly content on her own, and talks in the sweetest little voices. She loves her room, which is usually evidenced by a huge mess, and I have loved have the opportunity to listen in and be a fly on the wall this summer.
545. And when I can pull this boy away from the neighborhood boys, we still have lots of fun, too! This afternoon included Sorry and cherries to snack on while Mila caught up on her beauty sleep.
546. A summer bucket list night at Prairie Lakes. We love this hill of trails right on the edge of the Meadows overlooking the pond. We picnicked under the only tree up there, I lost count of how many times Cruz ran up and down the big hill, and we soon discovered that the many flowering weeds looked quite pretty arranged together. Beau had to work late and I have gotten accustomed to these special summer nights, just me and the kids.
547. That late summer light that spills through the big windows on the west side of our house.
548. Masterpieces in the sky during a stormy week or two. Mark Schnack on TV as we watch sunny skies slowly turn gray. We brace ourselves for the wind, and this summer, the hail, then usually file outside to splash in a puddle or go for a drive. One night, we spotted the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen stretch across our town for the longest time. A pretty reminder always of a God who loves beautiful things.
549. My first vase of flowers from my yard. It's been a joy to check on my seeds and plants every day, pulling random weeds, and checking in with my plant lady friend, Kate, to see how her garden is coming along. The other day, she broke it to me that what I thought were several blooms about ready to flower were actually just very tall weeds. But my mint has flourished and I'm enjoying mornings smoothies with it, and I think I've finally identified which leaves will soon (hopefully) produce zinnias. And my veggie garden? It loves it out there.
550. We made Mila a cozy reading nook in her closet and she spends a lot of time in there. She even asked to nap in there one day, so I set up her sleeping bag and sang her Come Thou Fount on the closet floor.
551. Our little baseball player. Although their season was cut short due to lots of rainy Mondays and Wednesdays, we sure had fun while it lasted. They actually played innings, had outs, and made plays - even double plays if we're talking about our cousin, Charly! Cruz was pretty young for his team, but we sure think he learned a lot this summer and developed a pretty sweet leftie swing. And we have the best coaches, and our fields are conveniently close to Rudy's Tacos. ;)
These two sneaking in to give their daddies some love in between innings. Or if you're Mila, on the field in the middle of the game!
552. These pictures. This is one of the reasons I don't want this summer to end. It's silly, but I can't help but think it's my last summer of Mila being "little." So I do my best to drink her in, her wavy and messy beach curls, her sleepy eyes when she wakes up from her nap, her scabbed and scuffed up tan legs, and her slender little figure that's shed most of her baby fat and has left behind the figure of a little girl. She loves her baby dolls, lately carrying around two at the same time explaining that they are twins. And the names she has for them make me laugh. Yesterday, they were Kella and Nella, today she changed them to Elena and Isabella, and two minutes ago, they were Eleanor and "Baby Harper." I don't know where she gets her names, but she sure loves being a mommy to them. I melt when I peek in on her sleeping and see her snuggled up with them, just how I cuddle with her. She's my girl and she makes my heart sing.