First day of school 2022…

The summers seem to get shorter and shorter every year. But here we are once again, the first week in August starting school. As if the universe was apologizing to us for having to start so early, we had a beautiful thunderstorm roll through last night which dropped our temperatures lower than Steve and I can ever remember on the first day of school for our kids.

As we skipped away from the school this morning it was a balmy 78 degrees. The best weather ever. Don’t worry, by the time they got home from school it was 100. But at least we weren’t dripping buckets of sweat when he dropped them off this morning. (we’re usually melting!)

Briggs was a chatty Cathy when he got home from school and he was so happy and excited about everything. First grade is awesome.

Cannon is hitting the age where he hears everyone say they hate school and he wants to agree, but in his heart, he still loves it. He loves recess and the fact that his best friend is in his class again. He realized today, he’s a little rusty on his Spanish.

Bennett is living his best life as the oldest kids in the school. He has a large group of friends that play soccer every recess and he was disappointed to learn they’ve removed their morning recess to better prepare them for junior high next year. He was not amused. He actually has the same teachers as last year since they both moved up with his class and he already knows he loves them. Although, one of them is really “strict” in his opinion which judging from the group of kids she has, she should be!

Hunter is also the old man on campus (although they only have two grades at his school). Like Cannon, I think Hunter knows his friends don’t enjoy school, but he does and he excels at it and he just owns it! He’s excited about his honors high school geometry class he’s taking and so far he likes all his teachers.

I was surprisingly most nervous to hear about Hallie’s first day of school because high school can be brutal sometimes! Her school only allows juniors and seniors to drive to school which she is excited about this year, however, they only let seniors leave for lunch which is a major disappointment. Her school is really large so every semester she’s just hoping she knows at least one person in each of her classes and there were some disappointments today. But she came home with a positive report on the day and then turned around and went to a concert tonight for a friend’s birthday as if it’s still summer vacation! I suppose we’re easing into this school thing. 🙂

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Washington road trip…

Last year we weren’t able to extend our Idaho road trip up to Washington (to see my college roommate and her family) which is always a highlight for our kids. So they were so excited when they saw our summer schedule included visiting friends in Washington. I always strategically plan out our summers so we’re never staying any one place too long. Ideally, I like to visit my parents for a week and then leave for a while and then come back for another week – to break it up for them. But plans are made to be broken and I always learn a lesson in flexibility.

The day before we were to go to Washington, my friend let us know their family was sick – which meant our plans were immediately cancelled (which is made easier when you’re driving everywhere.) Unfortunately, Steve had a flight to Washington to join us which also had to be cancelled. I honestly didn’t think we would be able to see these friends this year and my kids were so disappointed. But I kept going back to the schedule to see if I could make it work and I finally found a solution. But by this point in our trip, my energy for making the 6 hour drive each way had waned. I was on the fence about it.

And the thing that pushed me over the edge to go was the friendships. My kids love their kids and it had been a while since they had seen them and to go another year would’ve been too long. We have built beautiful friendships, never living close to each other, because we make it a priority to spend time together when we can.

This year, we made it a priority.

My kids loved their 5 acre corner of the world more than anything. And we’ve never had such beautiful weather, I don’t think it rained a single day we were there, which was unusual. The kids played lawn games, rode bikes, went for ice cream, made movies in their old barn, made smores, went to the park, and talked late into the night.

I think all my kids would agree, one of the highlights was berry picking. Years ago, we picked raspberries together and then went home and made raspberry shakes and my kids thought that was just about the coolest thing. (About as cool as their kids thought it was picking oranges at our house and then juicing them!) So we had to go berry picking again and the raspberries were amazingly large. We all agreed we would pick a small bucket and then we couldn’t stop.

Steve wasn’t there to join us because the trip was rearranged so I wanted to make sure he had some fresh berries, so we picked another round of raspberries and blackberries the morning we were driving home. We asked the little farm if they had blueberries and they said not yet. So we got all buckled in the car with so many fresh raspberries/blackberries for our road trip back to my parents house and then Hunter saw a sign a half mile down the road that had u-pick blueberries. So we flipped around and pulled in and spent a half hour picking blueberries. My kids were in berry heaven.

The kids thought it would be fun to recreate some of the photos we taken together over the years.

This was from our first visit to Washington, and we visited the same exact park, with the same exact log.

When they first moved back from Japan, they visited us in Arizona and taught my kids the popular Japanese culture of throwing a peace sign (or pīsu sain) for photos.

While living in Milwaukee, we went and visited them in Cleveland and we both only had two young kids at the time.

Life changes quickly – which is why we make it a priority to see these fun friends. I can’t believe we almost didn’t make it happen this year.

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4th of July…

I’ve got a whole summer of events and activities to catch up on but we’re going to start here – 4th of July. One of my favorite holidays because it’s fun and relaxing. We’ve celebrated this holiday at home, on vacation, with friends, with family, and even by ourselves.

I love the colors. I love the food. I love the fireworks – especially the sound. I love the weather (more so when we celebrate outside of Arizona!) I love patriotic songs, there’s always a few that make my eyes sweat just a little bit. 🙂 I love the celebration of our country and freedoms.

We had a beautiful day.

We spent the day at my brother’s house which of course meant there was family. And food. And fishing. And football. And fireworks. We covered all the F’s!

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Fisherman stories…

If you ask any of my boys (not Hallie), they will all tell you how much they love fishing when they’re in Idaho. It’s not something we do in Arizona – nor do I have any interest. But my brothers and my dad love to fish so when we’re in Idaho, my kids get their fill of catching fish.

It helps that my brother has a large pond stocked with fish on his property so any time the kids want, they grab a pole and catch a fish. I have to remind them that most people don’t have that luxury and often people will sit for hours and not catch a fish (which is why, in my opinion fishing is not normally a fun activity.)

When we were planning our summer, my brother offered to take Bennett and Hunter on a two night fishing/camping trip. It wasn’t working with our schedule and I was disappointed they were going to miss out on the excursion. And then by some small miracle, our schedule opened up and my boys were jumping at the chance to go camping with their cousins.

In preparation, my dad took the boys out in the backyard and taught them the art of casting. Briggs, surprisingly, was the one who took the most interest and practiced over and over again.

Later, both Briggs and Cannon put that practice to good use at the pond and caught so many great fish. And the excitement never wore off.

But nothing compares to the fishing trip the older boys went on. When they piled out of the car, tired and smelling like fish, my brother proudly asked Hunter to tell me how many fish he caught. With confidence in his voice, he stated 111 fish. Bennett then gave his number: 56. My nephews and my brother then shared their numbers – collectively, they caught over 700 fish. And they didn’t keep one of them! My boys told stories of late nights, cliff jumps, and so many fish.

Once again – I think they’re getting a warped perception of what fishing is usually like. Hunter did say the fun started to wear off the more fish he caught and there were several points he was ready to be done. Which just goes to show he’s not a real fisherman, because a real fisherman is never ready to be done!

I am so grateful for a dad and brothers that teach my kids new skill sets and give them one-of-a-kind experiences. My kids will have to wait another 11 months before they can pick up a fishing pole again.

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Happy Birthday…

It was just one year ago that we were celebrating his 40th birthday – and now we’re celebrating his 40th birthday for a second year. 😉

Steve is the calm to any storm! He is peaceful and patient and kind. Always.

While we were at Powell this summer, one of our friends shared something about Steve that I’ve thought about several times since. He shared that the thing he loves about Steve is the fact that he never feels any judgement from Steve towards anyone. Ever. Steve actually wasn’t around when this was said about him and I’m sure he would have been a little uncomfortable hearing such kind things said about himself, but it’s true.

He loves deeply and is without guile. It is his special superpower.

He also knows how to have a good time and keeps us all entertained (and perhaps embarrassed, if you ask his teenage kids).

He’s a deliberate father. An attentive husband. And a man of God.

We are happy to celebrate him today!

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