"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Friday, July 29, 2016

July Moments

I write this post tonight with a heavy weight alleviated from my shoulders. I am back from my whirlwind tour of the east coast, spending a few days in New Jersey and Philadelphia for work, a trip that's been on my to-do list for several months now. It's been quite the year for me professionally. I've had to travel more than they intended me to, more than I would like, and many of these trips have been due to needing to hire and train new employees, my first chance to hand pick people for these positions myself since accepting my promotion last summer. I have a full team around me for the first time since last November, and it feels good to have all this behind me. I literally exhaled when my plane touched down on that Iowa runway. What a completely different way of life here than in the busy cities of the northeast.

And the timing of my lighter load couldn't be more perfect as we look to turn the calendar page to August and what will be just a few short weeks left of this sweet summer that once again flew by all too quickly. August is always a bittersweet month around here. The boys love the summer, I fall more and more in love with this season every year - and yet our family feels most at home in the fall - with its football and comfort food, its pumpkins and October leaves, its hunting (for Cody) and its chocolate pumpkin bread (for me). And this year - there is one heck of a vacation coming up, too.

And though I admittedly have spent the last few months just wanting to get through it so that work would slow down, I now feel ready to slow down my anxiousness for the upcoming change of season and enjoy what's left of the season we're in. There's more baseball nights ahead, more opportunities for Saturday river days and Sunday night ice cream dates, for 5:30 popsicles after work and trips down the big water slides at the pool. We're at a good place with so very much to be excited about.

Before we jump into August, before we shift our focus to school registration day and Meet the Teacher night and that first football practice of the year, a look back at some of our most appreciated July moments. July always seems to be the slow-drip month of the season. We've settled into our summer routine and most of the big celebrations of the summer have come and gone. It's about living in the moment while we have it, a relatively empty calendar, and filling up our tank before life gets really busy again.

Happy moments from our July...

//our go-to summer stir fry meal and outdoor game nights on comfortable evenings. This Disney board game has gotten a lot of play this year and with good reason. Our dinner and Fast Pass reservations have been made, our daily countdown is dwindling, our Magic Bands have been ordered and personalized - and now I look forward to the little things as much as the big things of our upcoming trip. Like packing the boys' carry-on bags with fun little items for their first plane ride, putting together the clothes they'll be wearing as they meet Mickey for the first time, writing the notes for their teachers that will dismiss them from school for the first time ever since Jaden started school three years ago. He's worried about screwing up his perfect attendance - I've told him he's more than earned this. :)

//one last picture on Barrington Dr. and a big move for Mom and Dad. (And Dasher!) Their cozy new little cottage is starting to feel like home, and I look forward to a first Christmas around their beautiful fireplace and love having them even closer to us than they were before. This house on a cul-de-sac was a good house, a house full of so many big moments and many special memories. I chose not to say goodbye to it as I carried one last box from the living room to the car. I simply walked out and didn't look back.

//a quiet Saturday afternoon at a favorite park by the river. Jaden proudly drove his brand new bike all around the trails, and Brandon insisted that Cody play follow the leader on the playground. ;)

//bubble wands and this kiddo who has always been happy with these simple joys.

//a week-night dinner picnic at the pool followed by a sunset swim. And all those vibrant colors of summer.

//when it was too hot to do anything other than spend a lazy day at home. Hours of building and creating, a summertime Lego house gifted at Christmas and watching this little one's imagination at work.

//an adults-only weekend at the lake. We headed to the cabin on Lake Ponderosa on a Saturday morning, spent our entire day lounging on a lily-pad in Party Cove while listening to live music from the shore during the lake's annual big celebration day, spent our evening watching the sun go down from the back deck and didn't climb into bed until a couple hours before the sun came back up again. I left my camera at home but did manage a couple of phone pics. There's nothing like watching the sun set over the water surrounded by friends.

//a Sunday afternoon when we finally got Daddy to the pool for the first time this summer. It's always an extra special treat for the boys when he comes, and we spent a few hours going down water slides together, floating the lazy river and jumping into that deep end with Daddy there to catch us. We ended our pool day with dessert before supper - ice cream before our dinner of grilled steak and sweet corn.

...my tan skinned, blonde-haired Iowa boy. Summer looks good on my kiddos.

//watching this one prepare for his first baseball practice. The kid never looks more determined than when he's being pitched to by his daddy, and his game face is adorable. Especially when I can get him to crack it. ;)

//our first free weekend in a long time and a Saturday evening picnic at Lookout Park. Brandon was in heaven on the playground equipment, and Jaden was in heaven practicing football and running plays in preparation for the upcoming season.

//a day of tubing on the lake with my Grandpa Dave's never before used "Big Bertha" tube that was uncovered in my parents' move. And though our original plans were only for a short boat ride and a few rounds on the tube, we didn't say no when the kids asked to jump in and swim the day away while we watched from the lazy seats of the pontoon boat.

I could never in a hundred summers get tired of days like this. Here's to filling our last few weeks with more moments like these.