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The Summer of 2014

Experience has taught me that the space between the future and the past is the best space. The past holds things that can't be changed while the future holds things that are balled up in anxiety. The in-between, though. The in-between is a really good place.

That's why I had a few plans for the summer, but there wasn't any sort of strong commitment to them.

The only real commitment was the thing that kicked off the summer in the most amazing way possible.

It would seem that we could only go down from that moment when Mila was born, but no. There was no down. There has only been fantastic.

She is fantastic.

Alexis as a big sister is fantastic.

With summer kicked off and fantastic all around, we had some time to fill. It was filled mostly with late nights capped by lazy mornings, days at Kennywood with friends, lots of episodes of Full House, baby snuggles, and running Alexis to various sporting activities.

It was all Alexis' choice. She could have spent the summer in her pool being a bum, but she preferred a different sort of adventure.

As the days turned into weeks, I kept wondering how things could possibly get better. Somehow they did. It was, in many ways, the best summer ever. I haven't lost sight of that not-so-distant time when things weren't fantastic, so I have been soaking in every second of the happiness.

It really has been the happiest summer ever.

But it is coming to a close. Situations being what they are, the fun is ending.

First, though, we're going out with a bang. We already had the short trip to Virginia Beach. Now we are road tripping again.

I just want to remember every little thing about the summer of 2014. It really was a good one.


Writing It So I Remember It

On the last day that we were at the beach, the wind was calmer and the waves were smaller. It was a perfect chance to let Mila give the sand and water a try. She was dressed in her terribly pink and girly swimsuit. Some day when she complains about that swimsuit (I have a feeling that she will), I'm going to lean towards Mila, point to my side, and say, "See that girl over there? Your sister? Go complain to her." I didn't select the ultra girly swimsuit, Miss Mila. That was all Alexis.

The girly swimsuit served Mila well as she sat between my legs with her feet in the sand. We started out at the very edge of the waves' reach. The tide was headed out, though, so we had to scoot forward every few minutes. While the sand and the occasional wave that barely touched her little feet started out as enough for Mila, eventually she made it clear that she wanted more water.

So we inched forward some more.

And a little bit more.

Then the Tiny Human squawked enough to convince me that it was time to go stand in the water and let her really get her legs wet. So, I stood up and let her dip her feet in the water.

But then we inched out into the ocean a tiny bit more.

And again.

Before long, I was standing in water up to my knees and Mila was sitting in my arms. She was the sort of content that we all hope to someday possess, so we stayed there. Every once in a while, a particularly big wave would splash up above my knees and reward Mila with a few drops on her legs and arms and even sometimes her face.

She loved it.

So we stayed there.

For a long time.

Splash after splash after splash, Mila was content. She bore a blank expression, but that's exactly what she does when she doesn't want to be bothered. Don't blink, breathe, or move in any way because SHE DOESN'T WANT BOTHERED. Stay put. Let her stay put. All will be well.

And it was. The minutes multiplied and all stayed well.

I don't know what caught my attention, but eventually I looked down and peaked around at Mila's face.

She was sound asleep, despite the waves splashing her toes as they roared towards the sand.

When someday this child rules the world, it's going to be in no small part because she has the power to fall asleep anywhere at any time. It's her gift. She uses it wisely.


Can We All Move to Virginia Beach, Please?

Alexis on a beach vacation is an absolutely terrible idea. We know this because the last time the kid was at the beach, she declared that the ocean water was making her nauseous and then proceeded to puke all over the Florida coast.

That was after she complained that the sand was terrible and before she declared the sun too bright.

There really wasn't anything she liked about any of it.

So, I begrudgingly took the entire concept off the "Maybe Someday" list.

But then, something happened. There came a moment when the cards were stacked in favor of Alexis maybe tolerating the beach a tiny bit. Some very fantastic friends had an extra bedroom at the house they were renting. Those very fantastic friends also have an 8 year-old daughter who Alexis happens to think is really super funtabulous. We had a little gap in the calendar that made it possible for us to keep it short, but be there long enough to enjoy things. Really, the only things that weren't ideal were that the husband had to work and that whole thing with a newborn and a 8-hour drive.

What could possible go wrong with a long drive and a newborn?

Nothing, that's what.

OK, so maybe I made her wear a stupid big hat to protect her beautiful bald noggin. That's truly the only bad thing that happened in that span of 4 days, though.

Alexis completely forgot that sand feels gross, especially when it squishes between your toes.

She completely forgot that waves are stupid.

She even managed to forget that ocean water in your mouth is worse than poison.

I had to drag the child away from the ocean. THAT child. Seriously.

Just when you think you know a kid. Man.

All of this just means that Miss Mila, who LOVED the sand and the ocean, will magically change her mind in about eight years.

I will be ready.