Summer Bucket List

I made a summer bucket list with the girls a month ago. They had all kinds of fun ideas for what they’d like to do this summer, but I had only one item to add to the list – family float time at the lake. We used to do this before Everett was born: a hot summer afternoon + something to float on for everyone, and a few hours later, I had my all-time favourite summer memories, every single time.

But it’s been three years since this has happened! We’ve had some great weekends at the cabin since Everett was born, but we’ve never had a HOT weekend! It’s been rainy and on the cooler side every time we’ve gone out there the last two summers, and I was starting to get desperate! How was it possible to miss out for so long on my favourite summer activity??!

We finally got our hot weekend, and our family floated, and now I don’t care what happens for the rest of the summer, I have been satisfied.

We stayed at the lake until Monday so that we could drop Kaylia off at camp, which is five minutes away from my parents’ cabin. It’s her first time going, and we’re all pretty curious how this will go! It’s been awhile since we’ve only had two kids in the house, so Anika and I have a list of chick flicks to get through, and Everett is missing his little playmate, so he’s filling his time with “helping” me, which we all know is outrageously helpful. Although, he did empty the whole cooler when we got back from the cabin, which was legitimately helpful, so maybe it will turn out okay!

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

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Beginning of Summer

I love the beginnings of things – the first day on vacation, first thing in the morning, first page in a journal. You just never know where things are going to go, and I enjoy the anticipation. I’m not as good at squeezing out the last drops. I guess I keep jumping ahead, and start thinking about the next thing too soon, which is great for having motivation to start something new, but not so great for staying in the moment.

End of summer and I have some work to do. But beginning of summer? We get along great. I love the promise of great things to come, the long stretch of beautiful days before us.


Speaking of anticipating things, next week is my birthday, and I’ll be doing my usual “Birthday Favorites” giveaway – I share my favorite finds of the year, and anyone who shares theirs in the comment section over the next two weeks is entered into a draw. I’ve heard such great tips and things to try from all of you in the past, and I’m super excited to get started!

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I Was There, Too!

Every year for Mother’s Day, I make our moms a little photo book of all our best pictures from the year. They have quite a collection built up already, and I have fun seeing the changes in our family from year to year as I work on the photo books.

But I made a sad discovery as I put the albums together this year this year – there were no pictures of me. There were about a million of Everett, of course, with Kaylia coming in as a close second. Ben showed up a healthy number of times, but Anika made less appearances than other years because she’s entered her, “Don’t take a picture of me!!!!” teenager shrieking stage, but I still managed to get a few shots which she considered acceptable. But I’m completely absent in the photo book, because I’m always the one taking the photos.

I love taking photos, and I’m passionate about seeking out the beautiful little moments in our ordinary life, but apparently I have a problem with remembering to include myself. It’s my goal to change this, because someday, when our kids look back on the pictures from when they were little, I want them to see my holding them, caring for them, reading stories to them, in the kitchen cooking,  exercising, or whatever – all the little things they see me doing every day. I guess I want to see that, too, when I’m a little old lady, looking back on my life of lovely memories.

While I was reading to Everett before his nap today, snuggling and singing to him before putting him in his crib, he squirmed around until he was facing me, put his hands on both my cheeks, and said, “I love you, Mommy.” Then he messed up my hair, stroked it back down into place, and said, “You look nice with long hair!” (Which came out more like, “You wook nice wiff wong hair!”) He told me he loved me a few more times, then settled down with his head on my shoulder, and my heart exploded. 🙂 I want to remember all these sweet moments, but I also want the pictures to look back on, and they should include me, too.

We spent the long weekend at the lake, and I made a conscious effort to hand the camera off to someone else sometimes, so there’s proof I was there, as well! When I told my family about what I was doing, Ben argued that he takes lots of pictures of me. This is true, but most of them aren’t good pictures, because Ben delights in catching me at super awkward moments. He takes a million pictures all at once, hoping there will be at least one good one, and giggling at all the terrible ones, and then I have to delete the 999,999 bad pictures, and seriously edit the one decent picture, which is all very time consuming, so I guess I’ve become unmotivated to make it happen. But I have fresh incentive to give him another chance, so we’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, here’s a peak at our first weekend at the lake this spring, and I was there, too!;)

 

We used to drive this stretch every week or two when we were living at camp. It was a pain to be two hours away from civilization in a lot of ways, but Ben and I always had the best time talking on those drives. Those hours in the van are something we look forward to, and the scenery, conversation, and bags of chips make the time pass quickly.:)

My parents spend the winter in Florida, and my older sister’s family lives an hour away from us, so it feels like family gets a bit disconnected during the winter months. Spring means getting back together again regularly, and the long weekend in May is when we always head out to the cabin together. It rained the whole time, so there was a lot of movie watching, game playing, and rock painting.

We celebrated Kaylia’s birthday there, and it was her dream to bake an Angel Food birthday cake with Grandma.

And if the goal is for my kids to look back on pictures of what they see me doing every day, then a picture of me taking pictures is appropriate!

Now I’m curious to hear – do you struggle with capturing your everyday moments, or are you a selfie-loving pro?!

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Last Weekend of the Summer

This last weekend, we felt the moment when summer turned into fall.

We were at the beach and the sun was shining, but we could feel it coming – the air smelled like fall, the yellow leaves were peeking out, and we knew we were near the end.

The sun went behind a cloud and never came back.

The rain started later that evening, and the rest of the weekend was cool and cloudy, making me crave naps, books, and movies inside. Which is very nice, too, but I’m so thankful we got in one more beautiful afternoon!

It was only 13 degrees the morning we left, but my dad wanted to go for a ski. He’s been waiting hard for this! He broke both his legs in a car accident last winter, and has been going for physiotherapy for months. He finally got the go ahead for water skiing, and I’m so glad I got to be there to see it! I felt so proud of him. Life has changed a lot for him since his accident, but he’s never complained, and worked hard to push all the limits. I’m so happy to see him enjoying the things he loves once more! I asked him if it was okay to share this, and he said the part he likes to talk about is God’s ability to do miracles, and bring about healing, which is so true! It’s amazing to have days like this when we can celebrate how far God has brought him – I think He was smiling as my dad zipped around the lake.:)

It was a great way to end the summer! What did you do with your weekend?

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Vacation Favorites

Have you ever noticed how awesome we can truly be at forgetting the bad stuff, and only remembering the good stuff? It is possible for pain to fade fairly quickly – it’s why women keep having babies. It’s also why we’ll go on vacation again next year.

Oh, my word. I haven’t been so tired since Everett was a newborn. We spent five days at the lake, and planned to stay another day, but we just couldn’t do it. Everett sleeps terribly at the cabin. When Ben looked at me with bleary eyes, and said, “I will not feel rested when I go back to work on Thursday”, I thought, “What in the world are we doing??!!”

At this point in life, sleep is precious. So we packed up, and went home. I may possibly have considered it our last trip to the cabin this summer. I was just that tired.

But two days later, I was editing photos from our vacation, and I caught myself thinking, “Oh, that was such a good time!!!”

What??! That is fantastic. Thank you, Jesus, for a brain like a sieve. And there were really good moments that were very enjoyable, so we’ll focus on those, and try again next year.

In the meantime, here are my photos that make it look like the best vacation ever…..

lakeB&ElakekidssunsetmorningmoonSee, I want to go back already.;)

Photos of My Six Year Old

I often fall into thinking that things need to be Planned and Fancy. I didn’t know when I’d have time to take pictures of Kaylia for her 6th birthday – what would she wear? Where would we go?

And then we went to the cabin last weekend, and an hour before leaving for home, there was a small window of time, so I told Kaylia to quickly change into whatever clean clothes she had left, and we ran across the road into the bush.

K

IMG_0774 IMG_0787 IMG_0771 kWe should run into the woods for spontaneous photo shoots more often!:)

Weekend Favorites: At the Lake

I am not a spontaneous person. I like to have everything planned out well in advance. But every once in awhile, things will just suddenly drop into place, and I’ll suddenly realize that spontaneity takes all the stress out of things – if I don’t know about it ahead of time, there’s no time to get stressed! Just rush right in.

That was this weekend.

We had planned to go to my parents’ cabin with them and two of my aunts, but I got sick on Thursday, and the mountains of dirty laundry surrounding me didn’t help me feel any better. Packing for all five of us for the weekend felt extremely overwhelming at that point, so we said we weren’t going.

On Saturday, my mom texted to say that the aunts had brought loads of food, hoping we might still come, and she asked if there was any chance I was feeling better, and we might consider going to the cabin after all, to help eat.

I still wasn’t feeling great, but the laundry was now clean, and lying around at the cabin or lying around at home wouldn’t make much difference, but at least I wouldn’t have to cook at the cabin!

So we threw our stuff together, and got ready to leave in two hours.

cabinThe food was great, and it was good to spend time with family, but Everett’s night was horrendous, and at 4am, I really thought we’d made a huge mistake.

Sunday was so beautiful, however, that in the end, both Ben and I were able to overlook the awful night, and agreed that the spontaneous decision turned out to be a good one.;)

cabinMy highlight was Everett’s first boat ride. I was very curious how it would go – when Anika was a baby, the lifejacket made her scream, and she kept on screaming until the boat started moving. Kaylia, on the other hand, started screaming as soon as the boat started moving, and would wail through every ride until we finally got her used to it.

But Everett decided to show them how it’s done.

EverettHe was totally cool and calm throughout the whole thing. Ben’s reeeeeally hoping he’ll act the same way about waterskiing, since the girls refuse to try it.

AnikaKaylia, like Pocahontas, showed us a thing or two about painting with all the colors of the wind….

KayliaKayliaKayliaShe’s obviously gotten over her fear of boats.

EverettAnd Everett was so happy, you’d never guess he had the worst night of his sleeping career.

EverettAfter a beautiful day of reading, eating, and napping, we headed home.

drivingAnyone else feel like the better the weekend, the harder the Monday?! It’s a bit hard to transition from all that to school and dirty dishes!