Monday, June 24, 2013

Festival of the Wreaths

On Saturday, we went to our annual Polish summer solstice celebration, called the Festival of the Wreaths.  The legend goes that all of the maidens make beautiful flower wreaths and set them to sail on the nearest lake.  The man who retrieves a maiden's wreath is entitled to her hand in marriage.  We have been going for decades, since I was a little girl, and back in those days, the festival was always at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial.  We have taken the kids year after year at various other locations as the reflecting pool has been renovated (does anyone remember the year the water was dry?  Oh, what a funny thing!), but in my heart, the celebration belongs just where it was this year.  Washington Monument (scaffolding and all) on the horizon, ducks in the reflecting pool, and big Abe Lincoln overlooking us from his his comfy chair up top.  

Zosia, Lily, and my Aunt Basia (who was the birthday girl!) all got to participate in the parade of maidens, and I do believe they were the prettiest three in the bunch.  Lucky the men who retrieve their wreaths.  Hugo was quite convinced that the point of the whole thing was the ducklings in the pond, because, obviously that is much more interesting than dancing and such.  And this just may have been one of the final outings for Irene and Robbie before the arrival of their little one.  I'm on call for the birth, and my heart skips a beat every time the phone rings!  What excitement!

The moon is full, the days are long, and I do believe our lives are quite full, too.  We stayed out until the sun was setting and drove home with droopy lids.  Thrilled and exhausted, just as it should be.

Friday, June 21, 2013

And Now For...

summer break!  School let out on Tuesday, and we have been making the most of it.  So far highlights include making rice crispy treats, spending a morning with friends at the pool, and going to the zoo.  Oh, and being able to have nice lazy mornings while we get ready at a leisurely pace.  No matter how hard I try, I never will really be a morning person.  Getting out the door between 9 and 10 is just perfect for me.

The zoo was so much fun!  Did you know that naked mole rats, while among the ugliest animals you will ever see, have a fascinating social structure?  I think we jeopardized the small mammal house volunteer's time in order to ask all of our questions, but it was amazing.  Oh, and as we arrived we bumped into a couple of orangutans crossing the O-line, and then got to see one of them eating the bubbles from his own bubble bath.  This was quite funny to the little ones.  We just stood there giggling for about five minutes.  The girls are waiting for Hugo to start eating bubbles.

People always ask how having a boy is different than having a girl.  There are plenty of differences, let me tell you, but one thing that is always the same is that kids love animals.  And, I will admit, we are sort of a nerdy family at heart, so going to a place that is overflowing with information and educational resources is the best.  I have a feeling we will be paying the zoo many more visits.

Oh, and one of my kids just completed kindergarten.  That is pretty much crazy.

Happy summer break!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daddy O

Happy Father's Day!  We celebrated with a super laid back weekend topped off with a special just-for-Ben dinner including a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert.  

Ben makes the sweetest, funnest Dad I could imagine.  He brings us all so much joy.  We feel incredibly lucky to have him along with both of our own fathers that bless our lives in countless ways.  

So here's a little song for all the Daddy O's:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being Too-ah

(dirt cakes with worms and trucks seemed the natural choice for this little dirt enthusiast's birthday)

Hugo, you are two today.  Wow, two.  Or, as you would say, "too-ah!" as you hold up your two index fingers.  And you make too-ah look really very good.

You love animals and trucks, digging in the dirt, and your family.  You adore your sisters' attention, and always always make sure that every member of the family has a fair share of any special treat.  When asked if you are a big boy you pat your chest and declare "Bee bee!" and you are indeed our baby, even as you have grown into a big boy in so many ways.  

Every morning you stand up in your crib and call out "Mama!" and will patiently decline any other family member's assistance until I appear to pick you up and give you a morning snuggle.  You have seriously waited while I took a full shower for this little morning ritual, and for that undying love and attachment I am so deeply grateful. 

Objects are more easily identifiable to you by the sounds they make than by the names we have given them.  You stand at the window and yell "wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh!" as a firetruck goes by, or yell "Moo!" at any cow in sight.

You are deeply compassionate and relational.  You hand out a lot of hugs and kisses (strange, wet, open mouthed little face plants, occasionally interwoven with nibbles), and make us laugh so much all of the time.  You adore your family, especially your siblings and grandparents, and they adore you too because you fill such a special place in this family of ours.

You are the littlest one in the family, but quite strong, and you surprise both us and yourself with this sometimes.  You clearly have the upper hand when it comes to wrestling your five year old sister.  How did that happen, you little thing?

As you've developed a vocabulary, you have started to share with us the things you like (naming all of your trucks "Hugo," for example), and the things that you don't like (big groups of people, having your hair combed, or robots, as we learned this morning).  And it is thrilling to think that while we know you so intimately, we are only coming to know you more with each day, as you grow into your own independent person.

Happy Birthday, my beebee.  I know these days are numbered but they are so perfectly sweet.