South Dakota

My sister and I decided kind of on a whim, during the week of the 4th, that we should take her oldest and my two on a road trip to Mount Rushmore. After over a week of trying to get a place to stay in Custer State Park (it was solidly booked), I gave up hope. A few days later, my sister, who is more determined than me, called and found that they just had a two bedroom, two bathroom cabin with a kitchenette open up. We were going to South Dakota. Basically, July has been a whirlwind.

Lest the beautiful pictures fool you (and it was beautiful country), my sister was probably ready to hit me over the head with a frying pan our first full day in South Dakota. I broke out in hives the week before we left and they would NOT go away so I was on prednisone for a portion of the trip; I wasn’t that fond of myself to be honest. Thankfully, the remainder of the trip was much better despite still having some weird allergy stuff. We hiked, paddle boarded, canoed, swam. The wildlife was amazing. We saw buffalo, elk, burros, pronghorns, and so many deer. We heard at least one rattlesnake but thankfully never spotted one. Our last night in the park, we went on a chuck wagon dinner that I cannot recommend enough if you ever get the chance to go. We drove Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road (actually, my sister drove those and I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that). We tried the Jefferson vanilla ice cream at Mount Rushmore which was pretty delicious. And then, despite having plans to stay overnight in Sioux Falls, we power drove home. Our children were the world’s best road trippers.

P.S. Buffalo sound like they are growling and elk have high-pitched almost bird call like vocalizations. I found that kind of surprising.

P.P.S. My sister and I had a half-joking conversation on the ridiculously flat first 3/4 of South Dakota regarding the sheer amount of content in the world and how every day more and more and more is being pumped out. The sheer quantity of instagrams, Facebooks, twitters, news articles, youTubes, blogs, etc., etc. is overwhelming. And everyday we make choices about whether we add to the noise, ignore the noise, consume the noise. Basically, tech is really great, but it’s also creating content at a rate that is overwhelming and every day it grows exponentially. We didn’t come to any solutions, but it has had me thinking lately about our need to CREATE and our need to CONSUME and how creation can lead to consumerism and how I think taking breaks from consuming – whether that’s a NoSpend November or logging of social media for a couple months – is something we should probably be incorporating more of in our life. (Speaking of no spending: this not buying sock yarn thing is KILLING me.)

P.P.P.S. We did decide that we need to walk outdoors more often – like the real outdoors not the sidewalked outdoors – though that works fine in a pinch – because it makes you feel good.

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Our Annual Advent List

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Each year I like to make an advent calendar full of activities that we can participate in as a family. This year I’m realizing that we’re BUSY before we even start adding Christmas activities so I’ve tried to make a more realistic list for us as a family and schedule the “big” things on the dates that work for us. Also, while the liturgical calendar has us actually starting the season of Advent today, we’ll be doing the typical 24 day countdown. Here are the activities we have planned (in no particular order):

  1. help mom put together neighborhood Christmas gifts and deliver
  2. bless the Advent wreath and light the first candle
  3. bake cookies
  4. make Christmas ornaments
  5. make paper snowflakes
  6. tell each family member something you like about them
  7. write a letter to Santa
  8. bubble bath followed by Christmas colors mani-pedi
  9. go for a drive and look at the lights
  10. play a board game after dinner as a family
  11. decorate the Christmas tree and set out the nativities
  12. read a Christmas book together before bed
  13. family Christmas jammie night
  14. watch a Christmas movie and have popcorn
  15. have a breakfast for dinner night
  16. make sure to leave out your shoes for St. Nick
  17. donate food/diapers to the local food pantry
  18. go for a walk together before bedtime
  19. deliver cards/ornaments to the nursing home
  20. make gifts for family members at Santa’s Workshop
  21. attend your school advent program
  22. draw a picture or write a letter to a loved one far away
  23. donate to the Salvation Army bellringer
  24. go through your toys and closets to find gently used items to donate to a local shelter

This Last Week, Part Two


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I finished both the socks and the book from the last post. I was happy with how both turned out. Though finishing two socks in two weeks was a bit of a haul. Two pairs of socks this month have me feeling a little less than joyful at the thought of finishing another pair for July, but I will. I quit things easily and often, but something about this challenge has me locked in and stubbornly working away at socks.

Oh, and in my last post…that turtle was laying eggs. I used the super awesome rental lens (70mm-200mm 2.8G) to zoom in but stayed at quite a distance so not to disturb her. I was hoping to get a picture of her laying, but mostly just got her digging. We were all fascinated.

And Violet is off at camp. She was fine at drop off. She was more than fine. She was shooing me out the door once I finished making her bed, and being the smart mom that I am, I gave her a hug, told her to listen to her counselors, and proceeded to walk myself to the car where I had a few minute sniffle at how stupidly grown up she seems and how I’m going to be sending her off to college in nine years and how the last almost nine years have gone too fast and yes, this is the run on sentence of a mother who just realized that all those times they were talking about time flying…look an awful lot like this. I realize that mothers actually sending their babies to college probably find me a little overly dramatic (it’s four nights, Kate, seriously) but the cleaving of motherhood is a never ending process – from the moment they cut that cord, to leaving her with a sitter while still nursing, to the first four overnights without phone calls or texts. I guess, all this to say, I’m going to miss her. I miss her already.

This Last Week

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I’m the absolute best kind of exhausted. If you happen to follow me on instagram, you’ll see that since June 26th we’ve been swimming and tubing and playing games and staying up late and eating lots of good food and just soaking up every single minute of cousins and aunts and grandmas and a grandpa. (The grandpas on my side couldn’t be there for work or travel reasons.)  These pictures are from our first few days with my family.  I’ll share some more with Jesse’s family tomorrow. (I had over 230 to choose from and while the ones I’m sharing aren’t all technically “right”, they are my favorites.)

I completely destroyed our boat’s prop and it’s being hung up as cabin decor. I’ve since replaced it and have backed up the boat trailer twice. I’m a far cry from proficient, but I’ll get there before the summer is out, I hope.

Currently I am doing lots and lots and lots of laundry and packing up a storm so that V will have clothes for her first sleep away camp adventure. She leaves today and I know she’ll have a blast, but I’m going to miss her like CRAZY.

Hope you all had a lovely Independence Day (if you celebrate it) and a lovely start to your July if you don’t!

I keep meaning to write

But there are presents to wrap.

Friends to see.

Socks to knit.

Books to read.

Shows to watch.

Children to snuggle.

A husband to be brought up to speed (and to bring me up to speed).

And sleep. Never, ever enough sleep.

Life. Busy and messy and full and a little bit hard.

Because this time of year is always (at least) a little bit hard. And we have no snow. And I set aside a Christmas gift spot only to not put ONE gift in it because I had to ship it out right away anyway and sure enough it would go missing and I’d have to order it AGAIN because I spent two days looking everywhere at least 5 times. (And gagging as I dug through the trash because even though Jesse offered I knew if he told me he couldn’t find it in there, I’d have to do it myself anyway just to be SURE – and of course it wasn’t.) And I deactivated my Facebook because (politics, disasters, death, heartbreak, stupidity) I didn’t need the distraction (somewhere my friends who have watched me leave only to return 5,897 times are rolling their eyes). And oh my word, sings and parties and gatherings and people. All. The. Time.

It’s just this time of year.

But my cooktop is in. And my dishwasher. And one of my two showers is fixed. And my tub is operational again. And my other shower should be fixed by the end of this week. Emphasis on should. And I have almost every single Christmas present done. Emphasis on almost.

So it’s mostly good despite the little bit hard.

And I’m looking into 2016 and (best laid plans) I’m thinking about what I’d like to accomplish and what my priorities need to be and the person I want to be and the legacy I want to leave (Hi, my name is Kate and I’m an INFJ.) and how I’m going to go about doing that because…life is so damn short and precious and special and…

This time of year.

I promise to be back writing in 2016. (You luckies, you.) But probably not at all before then.

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(Violet drew this picture and we made it into our Christmas card this year and I wanted to share with you as well.)

I hope this time of year for you is a whole lot of very, very, very good and hardly any little bit hard.

XOXO.

First Communion

Violet celebrated her First Eucharist on Sunday.

The Mass was beautiful.  Violet was beautiful.  Her faith is beautiful.  And humbling.

I spent the morning stressed about getting to church on time, the lunch to follow, the combination of seven year old with white everything.  You know, the things that matter when your daughter is about to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time.

Thankfully, my family knows me and loves me and ignores my crazy.

We had a simple lunch, a cake, a few lovely gifts and I feel stupid for being such a crabby-pants-worry-wart, but that’s usually how it goes.

A Kick-Ass Year

I like lists.  I make lists of knitting projects I want to attempt, books I’ve read (and want to read), movies to see, things I want to buy, rooms I need to purge, activities that make me happy, and destinations to visit.  I make daily to-do lists, and weekly checklists, and year long goal lists.

And that’s what I did this year instead of make a single resolution.  I had a good year in 2014, but I left a lot of things by the wayside.  It was a year of healing and accepting limitations and I spent a good deal of time figuring out what things are really important to me (people who love me and make me laugh, clean underwear, and parenting well).

Knowing that, I have a good idea of what I want to accomplish in 2015.  I want to create healthy routines (so the laundry gets done and I have the energy and patience to parent) and celebrate those I love in life.  Here are (some of) the items on my list in 2015:

1. Mail one handwritten letter out each week.
2. Take a picture a day.
3. Knit Violet a shawl for her First Communion.
4. Read 50 books.
5. Knit socks.
6. Plan meals & prepare them instead of eating out so often.
7. Make the bed.
8. Devote some time each day with my children individually doing something THEY enjoy.
9. Maintain a regular bedtime (most of the time).
10. Do a load of laundry every day.  (I somehow got out the habit of doing this which has really thrown things out of balance.)

I also have a list of house projects I’d like to tackle, a few knitting techniques I’d like to learn, and some financial goals for our family.

In general, I’m gearing up for a year where I can “kick-ass at life” (my sister decided on her 30th birthday that she was going to kick-ass at life and I loved that idea, so I’m stealing it).

Hello 2015!

The last two weeks of December, beginning of January have been a whirlwind of family Christmases, packing, and travel.  I’m not going to lie, I’ve been craving my corner of the couch, some knitting, and a good long Netflix binge.  In fact, I don’t think I enjoyed this trip to Mexico NEARLY as much as I should have considering home is freezing while Mexico was a balmy 80° but if I’ve learned anything in 2014, it’s that I am a hermit.  Too many people, too much bustle, and I either shut down or blow up.  Neither is pretty.
Now I’m home and it’s positively arctic so I’m bundled up on the couch finalizing goals and plans for 2015.  I wanted to have a much more organized plan in place when I returned home but the aforementioned hustle and bustle simply didn’t allow for that so I’m starting my 2015 ambitions a little late.
Instead of making a resolution for the year, I sat down and made a list of things I’d like to accomplish and habits I’d like to adopt (or squash).  I started working on a system to help me do that and I’m sure I’ll share that before too long, but right now I’m still finalizing and puttering with things.

Small Houses, Tight Families.

Last weekend we went to my parents’ for a family celebration of Christmas.  Twelve people, three dogs,  and a merry time later, I’m home catching up on laundry and last minute details for our own “big day”.

Some favorite memories:

The look on Violet’s face when she opened her “fur” coat.  And then again when my mom told her there was more in the box.  “Um, but it’s not something I think I’d want” she said (trying so hard to be polite) of the dirty old rock (a geode).

All of us wearing the ribbons from our gifts around our head for some reason.

My nephew’s kiss face.

The best “sofa pillows” dessert.

Molly (our blonde cheerleader of a dog) being followed around endlessly by my little brother’s dog – a little, grumpy old man if there ever was and my parents dog looking like he just wanted us all to go away so he could have his quiet house back.

Three sick and snuggly kids and a Packer (play-off clinching) victory.

A Little Christmas Cheer

I’m not sure why but I’ve just had a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year.  It could be that we traded our Thanksgiving weekend tradition of tree hunting, carol blasting, me grumbling Jesse needs to put more lights on the tree for a family vacation and a pre-lit artificial tree.  It could be that we have no snow and green grass.  It could be that I’m just feeling a little grinch-y this year.
Whatever the reason, our tree has been sitting in our front room undecorated for about three weeks.  I’d flip the lights on every morning and flip them off at night before bed, but other than that and the garlands we hung the week before Thanksgiving – our house has been pretty devoid of decorations and I haven’t felt any pressing need to change that.
Until my children came to me this morning with their hearts set on decorating and being I’m not the grinch-iest of grinches or the scrooge-iest of scrooges, I cranked the carols and agreed.  We put out our nativities.  We hung ornaments and stockings.  I put out the ceramic tree (like this one) my mom gifted me when I was feeling nostalgic for the one she had made (and lost in one of their plethora of moves) and started to feel the smallest twinge of anticipation.

I’m looking forward to the happy chaos of my family (and three dogs) descending on my parents’ little house followed by Jesse’s family annual Christmas Eve bash. I’m excited to dress up and attend a Christmas Mass with my children and husband and remember what it is exactly we are celebrating.  I’m still not brimming with Christmas cheer, but I am feeling a lot less humbug. 

 

I guess it’s really hard to feel blah about Christmas when your kids are decidedly un-blah about Christmas.  Particularly when you ask them what they want and you get answers like “a robot that does all my chores” (Abram) or “a magic wand that helps me memorize my spelling words” (Violet).  I’m so grateful for their creativity.  

And their contagious joy.  I just finished their shopping and there will not be spelling word memorizing magic wands or robots that pick up toys and put away laundry under the tree, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be happy.  And that makes me happy.  And a lot more happy about this Christmas season than I was at the beginning of the day.

Just a Few More Pictures (and Words)

Main Street, USA all decked out for Christmas?  A little boy (and not just any but my favorite little boy) and his balloon on dad’s shoulders? Yeah…I’ll cherish this picture for always.
One of the things I was looking forward to most on this trip was taking Violet to Cinderella’s Royal Table for dinner.  Jesse’s mom bought her a crown (which wouldn’t stay in place so Jesse ended up wearing it), and we surprised her with her very own Elsa dress (one of her classmate’s mothers is an AMAZING seamstress and we had it made) and when she saw Aurora (her favorite princess) come out…I think she summed it up perfectly when she looked at her grandpa and said, “I will remember this night forever.”  

I heard a few grumbles about Elsa lighting the castle instead of Tinkerbell and I get it (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was my FAVORITE as a kid and it’s all wonky now) but I never saw Tinkerbell light the castle and this was breathtaking. 
Can’t wait to get Jesse’s dad’s pictures from Animal Kingdom.  While we were there a gorilla charged towards a man (who was beating his chest and acting like an idiot) standing next to us (we were separated by a huge ravine, but my heart stopped), Tom captured the gorilla’s face as he was staring down the man (who was also getting a talking to from the park official).  It’s absolutely terrifying.  I’ll share it if I get it from him.  I won’t forget it soon.

Disney Lessons from an Amateur

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that we were at Disney World last week.  When we first started planning this trip (about a year ago) my friends were split into three camps – those who looked at me in horror, those who talked about “getting through” a Disney vacation, and those who were overjoyed at the idea of us visiting the most magical place on earth.  My husband was decidedly in the horrified camp but was sick of me nagging about how much the kids would love it when he agreed to going.  He’s now a HUGE Disney fan is already talking about when we can visit next.
Here are a few lessons I’m taking with me for our next trip:
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1)  Charge your camera battery & bring your charger.  My battery was more than half dead when we got to Orlando and to my dismay I ended up with no camera for a few days while I was waiting for a charger to be shipped from Amazon.  I was fortunate in that Jesse’s parents met us for a few days so I’ll be able to get pictures from Jesse’s dad, but I still missed some great shots not having a camera.
2) Go with the flow.  Part 1.  The resort that we were staying at was undergoing pool renovations that were scheduled to be done by the time we arrived.  I called two days before to confirm that the pool would in fact be open and was told that it was ready to go.  When we arrived, the pool renovations were not complete and when the pool did finally open later that week, we still had closings due to water quality concerns.  Violet and I jumped in line for Space Mountain because we were told wait times were about 10 minutes and found that everyone else had jumped in line for the same reason (and waited a little over an hour).  A perfectly clear forecast turned into a mid-day deluge at Animal Kingdom. Being flexible is not my strong suit, but it’s simply a necessity and knowing that going in helps. 
3) Go with the flow.  Part 2.  That mid-day deluge at Animal Kingdom had us running for cover, listening to a pretty amazing band. I enjoyed a beer while kids had a blast dancing.  That long wait at Space Mountain forced us to miss a fast pass but catch a parade/dance party on the square instead.  The pool renovation issue resulted in us getting a one night’s credit on our stay which I happily put toward a badly needed massage and some souvenirs.  Things don’t always go as planned, but it’s Disney.  If something falls through, there is always something else to enjoy.  Enjoy it.
4) Expect crowds.  We visited during one of the slower times of year and visited Magic Kingdom on a day that was expected to be less crowded.  There were still more than enough people for this claustrophobic girl.  To avoid lines (to the best of your ability), use an app.  We used a combination of the Disney World app (which is free) and WDW Lines app (which requires a membership).  I found the WDW Lines app to be very helpful – especially for planning which park we wanted to visit on which day.
5) Bring a water bottle & snacks.  I spent so much money on stupid bottled water because I didn’t think ahead.  We did okay bringing breakfast bars, goldfish, yogurt pretzels, and a few sweets but I think I’d still add a few things for our next trip.
6) Make your dinner reservations.  Early.  Dining at Disney is no joke. In general, I’d say our meal planning adventures worked for us (we did not do the dining plan so I can’t say anything one way or another about that) but there wasn’t one night where we didn’t see a family getting turned away when they thought they could just “pop in” to resort restaurants.  What worked for us was a few structured dinner nights (our first night & the 4 evenings with Jesse’s parents) and a few nights where we just picked up something at the park or the sandwich stand in our resort.  We had a couple of breakfast reservations (I got lucky one night and made them the night before and one night I didn’t get lucky and we bought fruit plates from said sandwich stand) but mostly had grab and go breakfast bars that we had brought along. 

7.  Use your hand sanitizer. I missed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party and our last day at the parks because I was sick with 102° fever.  I blame it on the adorable little baby with the big ugly cough who was one seat in front of me on the plane down.  All the same, do everything you can to avoid being sick.  And if you do get sick see tips 2 & 3.  

8. Get a dole whip.  The soft serve kind and not the float.  I can’t say anything about how the float tastes but I can tell you the soft serve version is UN-REAL.  

9.  Accept that you can not do everything (or even everything you think you can).  Looking back at each day, I’m a little underwhelmed at what we checked of the itinerary considering how exhausted we were by the time we crawled into bed.  We certainly could have crammed in more rides or more character visits or more shopping or MORE but no matter how much MORE we packed in we’d still be missing something.   By picking a few “must do” items each day (as in, no more than 3) and letting the day unfold, we kept the meltdowns and tantrums at bay (mostly, mom did have a minor one after our first day in the park).  
10.  Have fun.  I know I made my friend laugh when I sent her a text and said, “This place is crazy.  Even the bathrooms are themed.” but I was just blown away.  Disney World really truly is a magical place.  If you aren’t having fun, I say sit on a bench and people watch for awhile (with a dole whip, of course) and then visit the bathrooms by Rupenzel’s tower.  They’re freaking gorgeous.  AND THEY’RE BATHROOMS!
I’m not an expert.  I’ve only visited Disney twice and only once as an adult.  There are websites a plenty that can tell you when to go and what to do and where to eat and where a good place to relax might be (we took a ride on the Liberty Belle, it was perfect) but these are the very basic things I think everyone should know to have a good trip.

A Thanksgiving Staple

My first time hosting Thanksgiving was about 10 years ago.  My parents were going to be out of town but I still wanted to get my siblings together and celebrate with all the fixings.  This was back when my idea of making dinner involved taking a frozen pizza out of it’s packaging or dumping a can of cream-of-something soup over some chicken breasts so a full on Thanksgiving dinner may have been overreaching.  In fact, after serving a frozen green bean casserole (my mom could have told me she used canned green beans and not frozen!!) and starting the kitchen on fire making this recipe, I’m surprised my family ever let me host another holiday.
Thankfully, I’ve gotten much better in the kitchen.  But every time I make this dish I have a little chuckle at myself because really…who starts their kitchen on fire making jello?!? (This girl.)  And I make this dish almost every year (unless my sister makes it) because it’s not Thanksgiving without my Grandma’s cranberry/jello salad.  
Here’s what you need:
(And a tip:  remove the boiling water from the heat source before you add your jello.  Trust me.)
1 cup cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 small package raspberry jello 
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup seedless red grapes (halved) 
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped) – optional
Here’s what you are going to do:
– Put cranberries in food processor until well chopped.  Mix with 1 cup sugar.  Set aside.
– Prepare jello according to package directions substituting pineapple juice for cold water.
– Add crushed pineapple, grapes, walnuts.
– Let sit overnight. (I’ve tried to make this the morning of and it just NEVER sets.)
* * * *
One bag of cranberries make a double batch so I ALWAYS just plan on doubling it.  I’m never going to find a use for a half bag of cranberries and it leaves enough for breakfast – my sister and I often just plop the bowl down with spoons.

A Season of Waiting

I don’t think there is another season so perfect for creating family traditions as the season of Advent.  Over the last few years, we have created an advent calendar filled with little (and big) ways to celebrate the season.  Some things on our calendar are can’t miss family traditions, some are new things, some are  needed “chores” of the season that we want to reframe and make enjoyable for the whole family.  All of them are things that make Christmas special.
                   banner purchased from Paisley Sprouts

This year I made out my list, scheduled activities appropriately, and stuffed envelopes with small cards sharing the activity of the day.  I’ll hang these with a garland on the mantle.  Here (in no particular order) are the things that made our list: 
– string the popcorn/cranberry garland 
– decorate the Christmas tree
– set out nativity
– enjoy a classic Christmas movie with snacks
– visit the holiday lights village
– buy & donate a child’s gift
– camp out in front of the Christmas tree
– bake Christmas cookies
– purchase & donate a wish list item for a local charity
– write a letter (or draw a picture) for a loved one
– attend the Christmas parade
– donate toys/clothing you are no longer using
– read a Christmas story together
– celebrate parent date night & shop for sibling gift
– make a list of all the things you are grateful for this season
– see Santa
– enjoy an ice cream sundae bar
– go for a walk as a family & warm up at home with hot chocolate
– pick out your gift exchange present
– spa night – after school hair cuts followed by bubble baths, manicures & pedicures
– attend Christmas program
– wrap presents for teachers & gift exchanges
– family game night
– have a pancake dinner
– celebrate

You can see last year’s list here.

I’d love to hear about your family traditions for this time (or any time!!) of year.

Our 4th

We headed up to Jesse’s family cabin on Thursday and spent a long weekend enjoying family and food. And when I say food, I mean food.

Crepes (sweet and savory), blueberry muffins, eggs, bacon, ham, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, cherries, watermelon, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken salad, italian salad style veggies, chips and dip, veggies and dip, corn on the cob, cornbread, baked beans, mushrooms, oysters, shrimp, steak, ribs, lamb, lasagna and that’s just what I remember.

We swam. And tubed (Violet got knocked off the tube for the first time and didn’t forgive Jesse for HOURS. He felt terrible, I thought it was hilarious but only because I knew she was okay). And watched the fireworks from our boats under the stars.

We shared stories and projects and laughs.

The older cousins entertained the little cousins with fireworks from roadside stands. And played “Pretty Pretty Princess” and Bingo.

I swam and knit and threw the ball for Molly about 5000 times.

It was a beautiful weekend.

Enjoying the Holiday

Decorating the house, the tree, the cookies. Picking out and wrapping the gifts. Parties with friends. Family gatherings. Really, really good stuff. Lots and lots of really, really good stuff. Each year I wonder how I’m going to juggle it all before I realize that no matter what, I just can’t. I have listen to my nature – slow down and settle in and enjoy the important (and the everyday important) moments with my people.

I might pop in from time to time before mid-January when things slow down,but I’m ready to close the laptop for awhile. I’ll still be sharing snippets on Facebook, instagram, and very occasionally twitter, just no designated blog posts.

Happy Holidays friends!

Hello

Hello, summer. I’m so glad you could join us in time for the fourth.

Grandpa added a slide to the dock years ago. The kiddos love it. I love watching them play on it.

Love his face. Can’t get over the fact that he’s FOUR. Hello, Molly butt.

Hello over-exposed picture that I love. Absolutely LOVE. I’m learning that even mistakes can lead to treasured pictures.

Speaking of things I can’t get over, she’ll be turning six next week.

Hello, happy little boat. Summer weekends wouldn’t be the same without you.

Hello, Friday night/Saturday movie marathon while I worked on my blanket. Watched Out of Africa, Gone with the Wind, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and on a recommendation from Jules North and South (BBC miniseries). All of them were wonderful. Though I needed Kleenex for every one except Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

This week, V will be taking part in a few fun summer classes, I’ll be cleaning and working on some house projects (I’ve got to get the contact paper finished), and planning for a few family adventures we have coming up.

What are you saying hello to this week?