A summer scene…

Summers are for polar pops! (at least that’s what they’re called in Arizona)

After a hot evening soccer practice, the kids are asking for a stop by the gas station. When we’re headed back from the lake and we’re gassing up, it’s time for a drink. After lawn work – they think they’ve earned a trip to the gas station. Really any excuse for a drink.

And then sometimes it’s hot outside and the younger kids have been such great cheerleaders all day at their older siblings sporting events that they don’t even have to ask for a drink…I suggest a run to the gas station and you would have thought they had won the lottery to share a slushie drink.

And they sat quietly in the depths of the trees, finding any shade they could – devouring their shared drink and every thing about the scene screamed summer.

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4th of July…

We spent the fourth of July in Idaho at my brother’s property just like we’ve done for the past several years and it’s always a good time.

The sky was showing off and in beautiful form just as we were starting to light fireworks over the pond. It was the perfect gradient of yellow to purple and it made for the perfect backdrop to our little show.

If your kids are anything like mine – they love sparklers, so here’s a little parenting hack: Buy the 20″ wedding sparklers online. They are made for wedding send offs so they last a really long time and they don’t produce very much smoke (think wedding send off photos). The worst part of sparklers is lighting them every 10 seconds because that’s about how long they usually last – not the case with wedding sparklers!

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A special birthday…

You know what’s great about Steve – He is always willing to help me test lighting. When I’m about to shoot a group of people, Steve is eager to jump in assist. He never sits and smiles normally – nope, he loves to pose. And I remind him that one day these photos will come out of a vault for all the public to enjoy.

And that day has arrived, in honor of his 40th birthday!

He has been entertaining me for 18 years now and he’s always good for a joke and a giggle – he’s playful to say the least. Which means life is rarely boring when he’s around.

On the flip side, he loves deep conversations and really learning about other people. When we’re with my family, it’s not uncommon to hear, “That is such a Steve question!” He doesn’t just ask how you’re doing. He asks how you’re feeling and what keeps you up at night. He makes you feel comfortable and loved so you can answer his questions honestly. He’s always in the middle of a good discussion.

Steve and I are opposite in most aspects of our lives and yet I love his willingness to jump on board with some of my crazy ideas. He doesn’t need an updated house, but he supports me with each wall I decide we need to tear down. He would prefer a relaxing weekend, and yet he knows that is some valuable project time. And he despises Halloween and would prefer we not dress up, yet every year he willingly gets dressed up in whatever I lay out on the bed. He doesn’t stay in costume very long, but he goes along with it for a bit.

He is an active participant in each of our kids’ lives. He plays with them and reads to them and watches movies with them and teaches them and above all… he cooks them breakfast! He is present in everything they’re interested in and he loves them deeply.

He is love. He is light. And everything that is good.

He is my balance.

He has made a major impact in his short 40 years.

Happy Birthday Steve!

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Road Trip 2021…

We pulled into Arizona last night and it was 77 degrees. That may not seem like a big deal for most, but I have never unpacked our car after a summer roadtrip at the end of July in less than triple digit temperatures. It was unseasonably cool and absolutely beautiful and the perfect way to end our summer roadtrip.

Here’s a recap:

We were gone for 35 days. (40 days if you count the Lake Powell trip just before we left that we had to drive home after – we usually head straight to Idaho from Powell.)

We drove 4465 miles.

We filled up at 16 gas stations.

Visited three states: Idaho, Oregon and Utah.

Stayed in two hotel rooms.

Attended one memorial service.

We packed the Thule 9 separate times.

Sent two kids to summer sports camps; Hallie to tennis and Hunter to soccer.

We saw a minimum of 21 roadkill – 13 of those were deer. Poor bambi.

Bennett read 14 books. (Luckily, he’s not our car sick kid!) And I listened to/read 3 books. He beat me by a long shot.

We found 48 out of the 50 state license plates. We were so close to all 50 this year, closer than we’ve ever been. Sadly we missed Delaware and Rhode Island which I’m pretty sure we’ve missed every year – but surprisingly we always manage to find a Hawaii. Go figure.

Watched two tennis tournaments; one for Hallie and one for Hallie and Hunter.

Tried two new restaurants in Utah – we were first timers to Cubby’s and Super Chix – both had delicious fries which is the best way to judge a restaurant. The jury also decided that Zipz is better than LaBeau’s at Bear Lake. This is not up for discussion – just our observation! 🙂

Watched 15 Phoenix Suns playoff/finals games.

We explored rivers, streams, lakes, mountains and caves.

We listened to our road trip playlist more times than I can even count. And when someone even suggested we listen to something else, it was not well received by the rest of the car. Needless to say, we all have 24 songs memorized and know the exact order.

Hallie drove 5 of the 17 hours to get to my parents house. She didn’t always love the freeway driving (especially in Utah and Idaho when it’s 80 mph) but she got a lot of great experience clocked.

We made it home just in time to celebrate Steve’s birthday, meet the teachers for school and make a Target run for school supplies. School starts next week and we are ready!

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True fan…

Anyone who follows the NBA or watches the news or has even a basic pulse on sports knows that the Phoenix Suns are having a moment. No one would have imagined them to be in the finals and yet there they are. Steve has been a Suns fan since the time he was a kid. And in fact, the last time the Suns were in the finals, Steve was just 12-years-old and they were playing the Bulls and Michael Jordan.

And now all these years later, Steve is reliving his glory days and Hunter is now 12-years-old watching the Suns go to the finals for the first time his lifetime and only the second time in Steve’s.

This shirt has been worn on repeat for weeks now, two to three times a week. It’s gone on every vacation with us. In fact, he was in a tennis tournament in Idaho and he wanted to wear his Suns shirt because they had won the night before and he wanted everyone to know he was cheering them on.

We’re big fans. All the kids have attended games in the arena. We’ve watch all the playoff games as a family. We’ve cheered. We’ve yelled at the refs through the TV. Steve actually went to one of the games. We’re invested.

I’m not sure how this series is going to end, but it’s been a good run. And I’m confident Hunter will continue wearing this shirt (and of course Steve has a matching one) even after it ends. I just hope that Hunter doesn’t have to wait until he has a 12-year-old boy to see the Suns in the finals again.

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