Ahhh summer! The time to be spontaneous and enjoy every moment you can outside! This morning we woke up bright and early (which for me during my summer vacation is epic ;), packed a picnic lunch, and headed west. I really could do without mountain driving, but there is no other way to find yourself lost among the beautiful and wild mountains than to put up with those curvy twisting roads. We drove through the town of Estes Park- it was crowded and full of tourists milling around- so much different from the last time we were there in mid March. So we decided to keep driving until we came to Lily Lake.
The shaded trail kept us nice and cool along the lake and I braved through the swarms of bright blue damselflies...I've never seen so many dancing in the air before. They really are quite pretty with their turquoise blue bodies. I only lost my cool once when some sort of mayfly lodged itself between my eye and sunglasses...yes you read that right. gross. I immediately thought back to when I was in elementary school and my dad and I would go out to the nature areas with a huge bug net and catch critters for my bug collection...or maybe that was my twin sister because that literally doesn't sound like anything I would do...ever :)
The 4th grade teacher in me has to tell you that this is our state flower, the Columbine :)
We found a little bench and enjoyed our lunch overlooking the lake. Off in the distance we heard a violin playing as people were gathering for a wedding. What a beautiful place to be married. It was nice to escape even if just for a few hours. I feel like these past few weeks have been filled with so much up and down emotion and uncertainty...life feels a little out of control for me at the moment as my husband is doing a little of his own soul searching and deciding what he wants his future career to be. Sometimes I struggle to understand, I've known that I wanted to be a teacher since junior high. But Martin has always had so many dreams and he really is so so talented at many things that I think it becomes overwhelming to decide which path to take. Someday we'll look back and see how everything was connected and that without this job or without this journey we wouldn't have made it to our final destination. I feel like my faith has been quavering lately, but I know everything will work out...it always does.
I'm sure our town is no exception when it comes to hosting summer concerts, but it is one of my favorite parts of summer! There have been more and more weekly concerts popping up around town, but none of them compare to the concerts hosted at CSU. We sit on campus near the lagoon, lounging under huge mature trees filtering the evening sun. We pack a picnic and meet our families there. I love nothing more than to people watch...old friends meeting up, kids running around carefree and moving to the music, families spending time together...it's all very nostalgic and very much what summer is all about. Last night the wind picked up and the sky turned dark, but we stuck it out till the last song played. I hope Everdeen remembers these warm summer nights listening to the sounds of eclectic music and being around those who love her the most.
One of my favorite times of our day is after dinner. Lately, Everdeen has been playing outside until well passed her bedtime, but we can't seem to make ourselves go inside. The other evening she asked if she could go kick her little soccer ball around the yard. I hesitated for just a moment and then thought, why not? The light was beautiful and we ran, played, and laughed until the sun had completely dipped behind the mountains. We watched as the hot pink thunderheads grew dimmer and decided it was time to head inside for a warm bath and stories. It's in these moments that I'm glad I didn't follow 'the schedule'. These are the quintessential moments of summer...of life! The moments that we will remember the most. I'm still slowly learning that it's okay to just live and be and that there's no reason to apologize for it or second guess myself. These evening moments are filled with so much beauty and simplicity. Nothing fancy. Nothing out of the ordinary. But maybe that's what makes them so special. Sometimes if we're really lucky, Martin will help us end the day by quietly strumming his guitar or mandolin while Everdeen and I soak up the last rays of sunshine. And if I'm really really lucky, he'll amuse me and sing along as I play La Vie en Rose on my ukulele.
"a portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015."
Everdeen Kate: One of your all time favorite places to visit is the library...we probably go at least twice a week, per your request. You use the sweetest little whisper voice and always have an idea of what type of books you are looking for. This week it was trains. My sweet girl, a world of endless possibilities, adventures, and wonderment have opened up for you with each book you have read. What a beautiful thing to always want to be learning.
We had dinner at the park last night and lunch at the park today. We try to venture past our neighborhood park and it's always funny to me when Everdeen requests a certain one...like she's all of a sudden twelve years old and knows which parks are cool and which ones are for babies. "Mama, I want to go to City Park!" Today while feasting on our lunch we were almost attacked by a squirrel. My husband would say that I'm exaggerating, but seriously, this squirrel was inches from our feet and in pouncing position! Nothing would scare him away until I screamed and made my dear husband chase him up a tree. Everdeen wagged her finger fiercely at the rodent and yelled, "Go away squirrel!" He sat cooly in the tree tops watching us for the rest of the afternoon...and so did the Frisbee Golf players a little ways down from us. Hey, they would have screamed too...
Everdeen and her best gal-pal Margot have been taking the best naps this week...like two hours plus. I haven't gotten very much done because I keep sneaking peeks at these two friends curled up together. Over the past few months, Everdeen has taken such an interest in the cats...giving them kisses, petting them, and giving them treats because, "Wilson is a good boy, Mama". This little girl has the tenderest of hearts...no wonder Margot chooses to spend her lazy afternoons nestled in close.
Today I watched Everdeen play in the dirt and freckle her skin and clothes with mud. I thought of the ginormous pile of laundry that I have yet to start (who wants to do laundry when it's perfectly sunny outside anyways?) and that I would indeed be adding her clothes to the wash when we got inside. But I truly didn't care. All I cared about in that moment was that she was happy and giggling-beaming from ear to ear. Creating. Being carefree. Being wild. This little girl has taught me so much in her almost three years of life. Letting go is not easy for me, yet she makes it look so effortless. It's in these moments that I can feel the weight of my anxiety fly away. It's like the layers of doubt and stress are peeling away to reveal the true me...the me with no inhibitions, no worries...the me that gets lost all too often suddenly shines through again. She is my little soul sister, my kindred spirit. These days are all too precious for me, getting to be a stay at home mom during the summers are what I long for all school year long. Spending even the simplest of moments with my daughter (that are usually only witnessed by others) means the world to me. Even if it's just getting to tuck her in for her nap, or read to her in the middle of the day, or watch her build mud castles...I am savoring every minute of us together.
This little girl has been fighting off a fierce cold this weekend. Maybe the universe knew I needed to slow down for a few days after ending the school year. I selfishly thought the first few days of summer vacation would be about sleeping in and reading my new book in the sun...haha! Instead, we've had three sleepless nights, stripping beds (twice) in the middle of the night, and lots and lots of crying...but as I'm realizing, more and more since becoming a mother, my plans aren't always what are best for right now. I'm learning to slow down, watch, and listen to my surroundings. Learning to tune in to what those around me really need can be so so challenging, but it can also be the one thing that makes everything seem to fall into place. It can be hard not to force my expectations on the day. I know in a day or two we will begin our days of playing outside until our feet are covered in dirt or the sun begins to set, but for now I'll take these extra snuggles, take a deep breath, and enjoy right now.