I just got back from a walk, and I think I felt the faintest hint of fall in the air! Granted, it may have just been because many of my neighbors have already decorated their porches for fall (overzealous much?), but it’s coming!
As evidenced from my lack of posts, the end of our summer was very busy–but amazing! Both of my girls grew so much over the summer, and I loved having a front row seat to watch and cheer them on! I’ll recap a few (ok, a GAZILLION) highlights in a minute.
First, a quick housekeeping note…I am an idiot and accidentally reformatted my entire blog while trying to increase the font size. I hope you enjoy the new look. If you don’t, please don’t leave any complaints or suggestions, as I clearly don’t know what I’m doing. (And I used to be a marketing & communications specialist?!! HOW?!!!)
And now…the highlights of summer!
At the beginning of summer, I had Zoe set a few goals for the summer.
In case you can’t read her handwriting, she wanted to go to camp (she went to gymnastics camp and a Moana-themed theater camp), read books, go to the pool, learn to swim, and have play dates. I loved that she set both “fun” goals and “stretch” goals–and she achieved them all! Go Zoe!
Our summer was structured very nicely. After all of the transition of our spring, I sensed that my girls really needed a focused, calming routine. I intentionally scheduled nothing for the first few weeks of summer, which let us start those rhythms. After those first few weeks, I scheduled some sort of special trip, camp, or event about every three weeks. Basically, just when it would start to get boring, we would go do something really fun, and come back grateful and tired and ready for the routine again.
During the weeks we were home, I started most mornings with reading and journaling with the girls at the table. Then, we would make art, go to my workout class, visit the splash pad or park or library or have a play date, or play/garden in the yard. Most afternoons, we would have an hour of quiet time, ~45-60 minutes of TV time, and head to the pool.
We DEFINITELY had some bad days, but for the most part, both girls actually listened to me, and it was like they finally understood that if they behave, we can have more fun.
We had deep conversations about how God sees us and how we should treat others, and although there were plenty of boring moments, I was really honored to spend so much of my time helping to shape our girls’ character and understanding of the world.
In between those “routine” weeks, here were a few of our exciting highlights!
–Three days in Lake Lure, N.C. I’ve already shared a few photos from this one.
-A week at Sunset Beach, N.C. A member of our “Florida family” got married at her family’s beach home during her extended family’s annual beach week. We were gifted a house for the week and SO enjoyed exploring this beautiful area with our own little family, celebrating one of life’s most joyous events with our dear friends, and getting to know the extended family.
Three of the four of us had a formal role in this wedding (and I wound up playing “backup flower girl,” a role I have now played in two weddings). Enjoy the following photo montage:
In addition to normal beach activities and all of the wedding festivities, we took the girls fishing several times (successfully, I might add!!!), made many art projects on the screened-in porch, caught a planetarium show on a rainy day (Zoe: “ARE WE REALLY GOING TO SPACE?!!!! IT FEELS LIKE WE ARE!!!”), and cheated our way through a beach maze. The beach there is BEAUTIFUL, and David and I swapped off kid duty to take a few runs and walks that let us explore a bit further than our kids’ legs and patience would allow.
-Riley’s 4th birthday! In honor of her favorite show, Spirit, we had a horse-themed party at a bowling alley. She received many Spirit-themed gifts, enjoyed a horse-themed cake, got to play her first arcade game, and generally loved every minute of the day. I do not host elaborate kids’ birthday parties, but I love planning little details that will mean a lot to them!
She now owns every horse and rider from the the Spirit-themed Breyer horse collection, in addition to other Spirit merchandise. When I think of summer 2018, I will remember horses.
The face of someone whose wildest dream has come true.
–Vacation Bible School! I taught preschool VBS at church and both girls attended. This was so fun! The girls got really into the VBS songs (which were actually good…) and we are still singing them on the reg. Plus, they now quote VBS themes to one another like, “it’s okay! When you’re scared, Jesus rescues.” BLESS!!!!
–9 days in Durango, Colorado…first, the four of us stayed at an Airbnb located on a farm for a few days. The best word that I can use to describe this place is “magical.” Our hosts were LOVELY and let us participate in the life of the farm. We were able to pick peaches, apples, raspberries, and tomatoes and eat them right off the tree/vine/bush…
Watch cows get fed and feed chickens in the little coop in the background of this picture…Enjoy a magical afternoon of rest and relaxation in the shade…And not just see, but FEEL two amazing sunsets, complete with the soundtrack of crickets, rushing water, and cows mooing. We also made friends with their neighbor, who invited us over to a party he was having. We met goats, sheep, ducks, a fish hatchery veterinarian, an arborist, and a stay-at-home mom of two. It is Colorado, so we also met some players in the legal marijuana industry. One of my biggest joys in life is traveling and experiencing new cultures, and it was SO fun to learn about the lives of the people we met. I soaked up all the hospitality and left more convinced than ever that there is still so much light in the world.
Then, we spent 6 days with my family in the Purgatory Resort area and continued the growth and exploration!
We took the train from Durango to Purgatory, which offers beautiful views of mountains and national forest. Tip: if you do this, get your dad to buy the tickets. (At one point, this boy in the less-expensive train car in front of ours peeked wistfully into our car and said to his dad, “they have a servant?!” No, we have an attendant, and his name is Aaron.)
I’m not sure if it was more fun to see the views, be on a train, or continuously order drinks and snacks. (And when I say continuous, I mean that my sister may have consumed over 6 glasses of locally-brewed ginger ale and that Zoe ordered water, hot chocolate, ginger ale, & lemonade…and those were just the beverages…)
So many beautiful hikes! Once, we took our rental Jeeps to a 4wd-only-accessible hike. That was my first “Jeeping” experience and it was so much fun!! Here was the hike I took almost every day…a lake loop right in front of our rental house.
We checked out the resort activities, including the Alpine Slide, pony rides, paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, tricycle rental, and bungee trampoline. Zoe tried so many activities (even solo paddle boarding). I couldn’t believe how brave she was!
The livery. Right behind our rental house was a livery. My horse-crazed girl was in heaven and we took twice-daily visits to visit “Silver!”
The livery also owned a free-range llama named Tony, who made daily visits to our house, sometimes accompanied by his free-range goat friend. You can’t make this stuff up.
–My girls’ trip to Florida! I went on a Wednesday afternoon and packed in time with three separate friends before leaving Thursday afternoon for a beach weekend in Longboat Key with my friends of 10 years. THEN, on the way back on Sunday, I spent the afternoon with my old neighbor and her sweet girls. I came back overflowing with happiness (and a strong desire to abstain from alcohol for at least a week).
-Deepening some friendships here in NC. I have a semi-regular “girls’ night” crew now, and have been having a wonderful time building connections with the young families at our church. I also joined a book club of women from church who aren’t in my “young moms” demographic, and enjoy having an excuse to read and discuss books. In July, we had our book club on a boat!
Okay, that was an INSANE amount of highlights. Obviously, it was an amazing summer. I am so thankful for all of the memories we were able to make!
What was the highlight of YOUR summer?