Last night, we celebrated Beau's 30th birthday with a small gathering at our house. Red Chinese lanterns hung from the awning of our roof, a pork butt slow-cooked from inside Beau's smoker, and a red and white checked tablecloth was spread over the food table, waiting to be filled with all the fixins': homemade mac n' cheese, potato salad, guacamole, baked beans, and of course, a birthday cake.
And who can forget the infamous 'Bacon Explosion?' Yes, that is a bacon quilt you see there, keeping a roll of sausage, cheese, and veggies nice and toasty as they cook together on the coals...
I'm a detail person. Precious time and care went into even the smallest details: red and white old-fashioned carnival bags filled with peanut butter popcorn, Ball jars for lemonade, garnished with fresh lemon wedges, and red sprinkles tossed just-so over the crisp white frosted cake. When the table is set, I pretend I'm a photographer for Bon Appetite magazine and snap away at my table, keeping a close eye on the birthday boy entertaining his son from the backyard.
But, there were a few details I didn't quite think through. With the average age of our party about six years old, I didn't think about the hammock in the backyard being a dangerous jungle gym just waiting for a disaster, or the lack of a finished privacy fence opening up the opportunity for continuous laps around the house, or the hot dogs and juice boxes that sat unopened in the fridge. We went through more lemonade than keg beer, picked up about a hundred little rocks from your lawn, and caught our little neighbor, Jersee, watering my geraniums with a bottle of Round Up she found in the garage. When the party ended a little after 10, Beau and I shared an exhausted laugh as we thought about what our get-togethers used to look like. My, how things have changed. But amidst the wiltering geranium, the chocolate cake smeared on my kitchen floor, and the sounds of little Dash announcing that "this has not been a good day," after falling off the hammock, it all felt just right.
Today felt like summer. If I had to live the rest of my life with the same weather conditions, today would be it: upper 80s, a perfect breeze, and absolutely no humidity. It started with the three of us sleeping in late, the first time we've slept 'til 9 in seven months. Warmed up pork butt and a glass of sun tea for breakfast, fresh laundry on the line, and eight pots of boiling water in a baby pool to make the first swim of the season just right.
Ready to go...
Testing the waters...
Cruz was pretty indifferent about his first swimming experience. He mumbled, grumbled, and splashed like he does in his bathtub, but besides the fact that his toys floated around him, he didn't play or act any different in his pool than he does in the middle of the living room floor. It wasn't until he lost his balance and went diving in face first that he realized he was in a different place. He handled the water-in-the-face like a champ, but was definitely less-aggressive after that. There we were, the three of us packed into our own 80-inch pool, wondering what the neighbors thought of our private water park.
It's definitely true that summertime wears a baby out pretty quickly. The minute Beau saw Cruz rubbing his eyes, he took that as a sign that it was time for a nap in the hammock. So, swimming trunks, sunscreen, and all, Beau and Cruz escaped to their under-the-tree haven for a two-hour nap while I baked in the hot sun.
After a nap, a bottle, and a dry onesie, the three of us went exploring...only this time, on foot. We decided to forgo our bikes and take a hike underneath the trees of Cedar Falls' most beautiful escape. Just five miles from our house, we felt like we were hiking in the forests of California. Cruz loved every minute of hiking in the woods, and entertained us with his constant babble from his perch atop Beau's shoulders. We discovered that Cruz would be absolutely terrible at hide-and-seek right now.
And what began as a morning sleeping in, ended in an early bottle and bedtime for Cruz. It was a good one...a birthday boy, a barbecue, and a tan baby boy to make a weekend just right.