Thursday, August 25, 2016

Embracing the rain.

"Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now."
-Eckhart Tolle

I think we jinxed camping. Somehow. I'm not sure how. But we must have. How else can you explain our bad weather luck? We started the season in May with teeth-chattering 40 degree temperatures. Then each subsequent one brought rain, high humidity, rain, and more rain. And not just the quick rain shower where you huddle under the canopy and watch the drops glittering in the sunlight streaking out from behind the gray puffy clouds, moments later emerging from under the safety and going on with your day.  And most definitely not the misting type rain that cools your overheated body from the hot summer sun. But the full fledged downpour that forms lake size puddles and drenches you in seconds, your clothes sticking to your body like a second skin.

Such was the case--again--during our last camping trip a few weekends ago. We arrived at the campground in the middle of a storm, received news upon check-in that the campers before us got stuck in our reserved campsite the previous weekend because of the muddy conditions, and set up camp as quickly and swiftly as possible while Mother Nature laughed at us. Luckily our friends have a roomy camper, where we spent most of Friday night, the kids romping around the small space until they were about to burst. Then they moved their energy outside to the Olympic sized pool forming where the fire pit was once visible. The guys grilled supper under the canopy, doubling as lifeguards as the kids splashed and romped around in the gigantic puddle.

The weekend before the camping trip Ashton fell off the monkey bars and broke his wrist. He got to enjoy the puddle fun with a double layer of Press N Seal seran wrap around his cast, then covered with a tube sock, which was then sealed with a plastic grocery bag and topped with a rain coat--the sleeve zip tied closed, compliments of the Dads, of course.

We wanted to call it quits. Leave. Go home. Spend a dry night in our own home and then come back in the morning. But we stuck it out. If the kids can see beauty in a muddy puddle where we'd otherwise be roasting marshmallows, why shouldn't we? Instead of sitting around a crackling fire that night, all 10 of us squeezed into our friends' camper--the kids attempting to watch a movie on the tiny portable DVD player while the adults attempted conversation with plastic solo cups filled from boxed wine and mixed drinks. A perfectly imperfect night.

But then morning came and the earth slowly drank up all the water, leaving small remnants of the rain behind. The sun smiled on us the rest of the weekend, perhaps taking pity on our unfortunate camping luck thus far this season.

Saturday we willingly got wet in the form of a super soaker race benefiting the awareness of mental health. Garbed in our superhero wear--and Ashton's cast securely wrapped again--we began the race by running under the strong spray from a fire truck. Then periodically along the way people assaulted us with super soakers. The boys loved this and excitedly ran right in the path of the water guns. No one finished dry, except for maybe Jillian, safe under the stroller's canopy.

Afterwards we returned to the campground to enjoy our rare sunny day of camping, which ended with us sitting around a crackling fire.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Jillian: 9 months and growing

"Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day."
-Winnie the Pooh

Time keeps on slipping between my fingers. Spencer turned seven. I turned 35. Ashton is a few months away from turning 5. And my baby? Well, her growth is the fastest of all. She is now 10 months old, two months shy of the pivotal one year mark. Since she is my last baby, I've been noting each milestone with more tenderness and sentimentality that I ever did with the boys. She is currently standing in her crib jabbering away instead of napping. I watch her on the monitor as I type this, and I notice the dwindling babyness of her features. Her own unique personality shines through each day, and it's fun to see the person she is blossoming into.

She has a goofy one-legged scoot-crawl, just like Spencer did; and it's possibly one of the most endearing things about her. But don't think that scoot-crawl is a handicap. Oh no, she flies across the floor. Gone before you realize it--yet again into something she shouldn't be. Yesterday she got into the Lazy Susan and helped herself to a snack. Her first tooth is finally poking through, and I'm so excited to see the gummy smile be replaced with the tiniest teeth buds. And oh is her smile the highlight of my day. When she's especially excited, she'll blow air out of her nose as a grin spreads across her face. But those eyes--the deepest blue that needs no photo filter. And her hair--we can't discuss her physical appearance without the mention of her trademark hair. What once stuck straight up in all directions is now a tamer version of it's earlier glory. A baby mullet, really. Or a rat tail, probably. Oh but the cute pigtails that stick straight out from either side of her head!

Jillian's arrival 10 months ago disrupted our lives in the most glorious way. We backtracked a bit, adding naps back into our routine, a diaper bag on our adventures, activity restrictions that we were finally big enough to enjoy, and a baby proof house. But what we lost, we definitely made up for tenfold in other areas. Ten months seems so teeny in the grand scheme of time, but oh how full these months have been.

Last month we went to a family friend's house to document our baby at her nine month mark. It's amazing that she grew in my body for the same length of time she was out in the world becoming her own person independent of me. She's sitting and scooting and eating and giggling and waving and pooping and clapping and playing and standing and growing and growing and growing.