Our summer was filled . . . there are thousands of describing words I could use at this point (exciting, memorable, adventurous etc. etc. etc.) but I'll just stick with full. It wasn't the overwhelming this-is-not-fun-we-need-a-vacation-from-our-vacation full. It was fantastically, wonderfully full.
Fourth of July was spent with our family. We went to Wiser Lake and enjoyed a sunny day outside. Then later in the evening, joined our great friends on Lake Ki for tons and tons and tons of fireworks.
We had weather like no other this summer and spent countless days outside in the water.
The end of July we headed down to Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast for a week of family reuniting and reminiscing and making new memories. (We took a detour to Portland a day before to visit some very special family members on Travis' side of the family - Kim - what an incredible treat it was to chat and laugh and walk and chat and laugh some more! You must know - there are very few things in this entire world that would get me up and out of bed by 6:30 - you are one of the few things!!) From 6 states, my dad's siblings and their children and their children's children, came together. There was a lot of laughing and eating and exploring the beautiful Oregon coast.
We spent some time at a fun mall/square that had a taffy store, huge bikes for many to ride at once (of which there are no pictures because my booty was to busy peddling to even think of grabbing a camera), a carousel and a funny hat store.
And these four little girls became inseparable.
There was a whole lot of squealing and dance routine making and tickling and story telling done between these four cousins. It was love at first sight!!
There was the bi-annual family bowling tournament and a new addition of mini-golf.
The prizes for the bowling game were white elephant gifts that each family member had brought. You can't truly appreciate this story as there are no pictures to prove it but one of my favorite moments involved a whole chicken in a can, a few hilarious young ladies, a late night camp fire on the beach and quite an adventure!!
One day we rode an old-fashioned steam engine into the town of Girabaldi.
The kids, of course, loved the beach and spent most of their time in the sand.
I may as well fess up and say that I spent most of my time in the sand as well. I may have spent hours upon hours making sandcastles . . . even after the kids had lost interest and were off to something else!! One time on the beach I was looking at the ocean with Melissa and Ben when I said, "I'd love to just go swim in that water." Ben said, "I'll go up to my waist if you do?" I said, "You're on" and started walking in. Ben looked back at Melissa, looked back at me and said, "We're really doing this?!" Oh yeah - we did it. And in the eyes of my kids, we might have well have swum the whole thing!! (See the jumping up and down? I love having kids to enjoy life with!!)
It was so cold that after the initial shock, it was actually quite warm . . . I'm sure that's the beginning sign of hypothermia . . .
In the evening, my dad built a rocking fire on the beach so we could roast marshmallows and enjoy the ocean breeze.
If you've never seen the sunset on the Oregon coast, it is truly something that must be added to your bucket list. Pictures can do it no justice.
As the sun set on that part of the summer, we headed back home with a gratefulness in our hearts to have spent so much time with such important people in our lives. I am so thankful that my kiddos are able to grow up knowing their extended family. It may not be as often as we'd like but no matter how many days pass between visits, family is with you and for you always.
We got back just in time for blackberry season. We have a big berry bush across the street from us and it was not uncommon for one of the kids (and I'm including Travis in with the kids) to run across the street to get some fresh blackberries to go in our cereal or on top of pancakes or in a crisp.
(And no - I did not stage them in height order! And yes - Haley is wearing her PJ's . . . I'm that mom.)
The last week of August, I got in the car for my first road trip by myself since having kids for a 6 hour ride to visit my bestest friend since 7th grade. It was just me and the road and a bunch of CD's.
Less than a month before my arrival, she had given birth to two incredibly beautiful full term twin boys. I couldn't wait to fill my arms with them!!
I got to re-teach her oldest how to crochet, play bubbles with the second, take on some wii challenges with the third, read to and make the forth giggle, and snuggle numbers five and six. Yup . . . six. Six of the most beautiful, incredible, loved, prayed for, and adored little ones.
And yes - I figured out how to pick one up while holding the other. And yes - I was amazed by my friend's ability to nurse two babies at the same time. And yes - I took four kids and a GPS to locate some early morning coffee. And yes - I cried my eyes out when I had to leave. A friend for 20 years is not something that comes easily or is often obtained. I feel so blessed to still have this amazing woman in my life. It's incredible to slip right back in where we left off last time as if we were never apart. (But I don't like being so apart!!!!)
I came home with one day in between to finish school shopping, do laundry, love on my own kids, then head back out the door for four days with my mom and sister back on the coast. My parents recently bought a cabin located right on the ocean. We spent four days playing games, eating yummy food, crafting, and of course, shopping. We found some great thrift shops around town and spent over an hour in an antique jewelry store. I'm going to pretend to be surprised when I get my Christmas and birthday gifts this year but I can't wait!! They had some amazing pieces . . . that might come to my house soon?!
So here we are already in September again. How does this happen? How does time fly by so fast? And why is it getting faster every year?! I am so grateful for the summer we had. For the memories we made and the people we got to visit. For the adventures we took. For the laughter we shared. And for the family around me. I could not ask for anything more.