Let’s hear it for the mamas!  And for Shane, who got up with Jules and let me stay in bed as long as I wanted to yesterday morning.  And then gifted me with a fancy new blender (just in time for smoothie season!).  And then fetched me a strawberry danish from the bakery.  And then planned a perfect family outing.  I was just going to ask for a couple of free hours to run some errands, but sheesh, that guy goes big.

We set out for Rattlesnake Ridge after we had breakfasted and dressed – we thought we’d give the trails a go with the stroller and embark on a short family hike.  We didn’t make it far as the terrain got rugged pretty quickly, but we found this gorgeous little path off the main trail where we could let Juliette run around and look for caterpillars.

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Seriously, that girl was digging those caterpillars!

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Once we had terrorized enough insects, we walked down to the lake to spread out a blanket, throw rocks, and blow bubbles.  Juliette ran to the water’s edge and back, returning to me to stuff a couple of crackers in her mouth and gulp down some water before setting off again.  I stretched out in the sun, basking in the opportunity to just be still, which happens so rarely these days.

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And when the water lost its appeal, Shane was on bubbles duty!

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I eventually took a turn, because, well, I actually love having her nestled into my lap…

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We hit the road around noon, worried we were cutting it a little close to naptime, but Juliette spent the whole ride home happily chattering in the backseat.  She must have gotten the Mother’s Day memo!

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We all snoozed in the afternoon and then puttered around the house before heading over to Jack and La Verne’s for a pizza feast with the gang.  Jack enjoyed some quality time with G…

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And then put him and Isaiah to work, offering to pay them each a quarter for each bucket of weeds they filled!  I’m not sure this constituted a fair wage, and judging from Jack’s face, I think he knew he was making out like a bandit.

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Jules stood by and watched, pigtails askew, face sticky with watermelon juice, and belly threatening to burst out of her tank top.  It’s her “summer look”.

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And goodness, she was feeling the love for Nico that night, reaching out to give him a squeeze whenever he got within grabbing range.  Usually he stands stock-still and looks a little startled when Jules comes at him with one of her bear hugs, but on this particular evening he actually reciprocated!

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Or is he pushing her away?  I can’t tell…

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Hugs aside (or included?), these two have so much fun together.

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And speaking of fun, Shane and Jason busted into Jack’s liquor cabinet while Jack supervised all four children on the other side of the yard.  Shameless!

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I’ve learned so much about being a mom from these two ladies, felt so supported in the midst of craziness or fatigue, so inspired by the ways they love their kids.

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There was a rousing game of “toss the boys”…

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And then, finally, we were all tuckered out.  I had a hard time prying Juliette out of Jack’s arms, as she looked ready to fall asleep on his chest.

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We washed the dirt from between Juliette’s toes and then she crashed in my arms after only a couple of rounds of the sunshine song.  She’d played hard.

When we’re in the depths of toddler tantrums or early wake-ups or seemingly endless whiny requests for Elmo, I try to remember the good times, to call upon memories of joy and laughter and sweetness.  So I’m tucking yesterday away for a rainy day – the motherhood-scale is feeling very much tipped in my favor at the moment.