Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Today was the first day of school for Julia.  First grade!  I seriously can't believe she is old enough to be in first grade.  The girls came with me to Young Women tonight, and Julia noticed the Activity Days girls were playing volleyball.  It turns out I have never mentioned Activity Days to her, so I told her when she turns 8 she gets to come to activities like this.  She commented that that event is less than 2 years away.  I might cry over that one.

But that's not the point of this post.  The point is, summer is now over.  And what a summer it has been!  In June we were going strong on what I call, "Organized Activities Summer," where every day had an adventure, and we were always on the go.  We had visits to the library, picnics at the park, fun with water, planting a garden, trips to Cantigny Park (a family favorite), and even craft projects (!) that filled our days.  Every day something was on the calendar.

At the end of June, and on through almost all of July, we had, "Vacation Summer."  It started with a trip out to Utah.  Per Julia's request, we took the long way out there and stopped at Mount Rushmore.  That alone would have been worth the added 3 hours of drive time, but we also saw the Badlands, Martins Cove, Independence Rock, the SPAM museum, and Wall Drug, which were all new experiences for me.  I could have done without Wall Drug, but everything else was most definitely worth stopping to see.

While in Utah we hiked in the mountains, got sick, toured Timpanogos Cave, planned and cancelled a birthday party for Ella due to being sick, visited the zoo (minus me, because I was sick), ate at Cafe Rio (and didn't get sick!), made a trip to the temple, saw family and friends, and generally partied (while we weren't sick).  The highlight of the trip was seeing a whole slew of cousins, including the ones who came from Colorado just to see us!  And, of course, the grandparents.  I almost (almost) want to move back there.  Really, I just want my favorite people from there to move out here.  Though maybe not here, because I'm not 100% sold on Illinois yet. So I guess I want to live in the same town as all my favorite people, with that town yet to be determined.  Yeah.  That could happen, right?  Anyway, it was a great trip, even if that was an awful lot of driving.

Upon arriving home, we spent 2 days unpacking and doing laundry, only to repack and head to St Louis for a few days to spend time with my sister, Whitney.  Clark stayed home for this trip, so I squished in the backseat with the girls for the drive with my parents.  We had a great time seeing the St Louis Zoo, playing with my niece, and stopping in Springfield on the way home to tour the Lincoln Museum and eat Cozy Dogs.

After that jaunt, we spent 2 days unpacking and hosting my parents, and then I headed out to girls camp for 3 days.  I must admit, I was a bit hesitant about girls camp.  I wasn't sure how I felt about spending 3 days and 2 nights with a slew of teenage girls.  But when it was time to leave, I was not ready to go home, and sad I didn't stay the whole week.  I work with some amazing women, and we have a great group of girls.  Good times.

The next day my parents went home.  I spent about a week playing catch-up on all the housework.  And then we entered what I am calling, "Whiny Fighting Summer."  The part of the summer where everyone is ready to go back to school and get back into a routine.  I was out of ideas on anything fun to do, all Ella seemed capable of doing was saying, "I'm bored," multiple times before attacking Julia by laying on her, mauling hugging her, or copying her ("She's copying me!" "She's copying me!").  Julia responds by making whiny noises, running away, and crying.  We did a fair bit of reading (because that's easy, and I'm always up for another trip to the library), and for a couple of weeks we managed a bike ride around the neighborhood every day, but the vast majority of the days were spent fighting boredom with arguing and TV.  This is the part of summer I'd rather forget.

It all ends today, though.  Today we are back on track, going to bed early so we can wake up early, our lives revolving around the bus pick up and drop off.  And in a couple weeks, once Ella starts school, I can finally go grocery shopping by myself again - which sounds like an absolutely delightful treat! Bring on fall!