Summer went by in a blink. The leaves are already flying, and it’s time to reflect on the season that never lasts long enough.
Things got started with Happiest Mommies and Friends’ successful second Mom 2 Mom Sale. We brought in enough money to cut a check to Great Start for $2,500. The local Parent Coalition will use the money to start baby pantries in each of the three counties it represents.
Next, HMF celebrated with a Sex and the City 2 Party at Lincoln Hills. It was so much fun to decorate for this because my sister was here from Missouri to help.
We made stickers to create famous brand and store-named shopping bags, and we borrowed some fun shoes from a local clothing store. Each lady went home with her very own, very expensive, sucker ring!
Speaking of my sister, here is her little guy covered in chocolate ice cream. We took the big W (my nephew) and his parents to our favorite ice cream location in town, and he managed to get his sweet treat EVERYWHERE — even on the back of his head! Too cute!
We also went camping together that weekend, and we spent a huge amount of time trying to reel the kids in from the road (where they all seemed to want to be).
Another favorite event this season was Walt’s 2nd birthday party — a tractor-themed bash. Walt and his best buddy stole away during the bash to devour an entire bowl of candy!
This was also the summer that I gave up my dream car for a vehicle with a third row. I made Bret take a picture of me with my Volvo before it was taken away.
We bought a different car the day before my mother-in-law, the kids, and I began a two-day trek to Kansas.
Here is Walt and his cousin after we on a very hot day. Notice the purse! (He was carrying it for his mom.)
One of our favorite days in Kansas was when we spent the day at the home of the kids’ cousins. They played hard, and their aunt (see her beautiful smile below!) took us on a four-wheeler around their hilly property.
The kids and I drove over to Missouri after spending a little less than a week with Bret’s family. We stayed for a couple of days with my folks before heading back to Michigan.
Mom, Dad, and their friend Dottie caravanned with the kids and me. We took our time and went through the Amana colonies in Iowa.
Once we got home, we became hard-core tourists. Our activities included swimming, eating fish at the beach, driving up north, having lunch at a gorgeous golf course overlooking Lake Michigan, and going to the art fair at a nearby village (which is where the photo below was taken).
This was also the first summer that we truly utilized our pool. It was somewhat finally fixed, and the kids were finally interested in getting in the water. Both kids were able to touch their feet in the shallow end, and they were able to be a little bit independent. They also gained more confidence through the swimming lessons that they took every Monday.
You know what is the next best thing to sliced bread? If you’re under four years old, it’s the fair!!! Oh, how the kids loved our little fair… They rode lots of rides, like the cars below, the carousel, a giant slide, a train, and even the ferris wheel. (I rode with them, and I was soooooooooooo scared!) They also played a fishing game and each won a dolphin.
Every time we go by the fair grounds now, I have to explain that the fair moved on to another town so that other kids could enjoy it, and that it will be back next year because it happens once a year — just like Christmas.
The day after we took the kids to the fair, Bret and I went back with friends and bought a 4-H pig! Oh, how we love the bacon…and the deep-fried oreos we tried that night!
This summer marked the first time that Bret and I went to the hospital’s benefit ball. We endured lots of last-minute chaos in trying to find a couple to go with us (after the first one unfortunately had to back out) as well as appropriate attire. But the whole adventure was fun!
In the end, we had a great night with some dear friends. And we were so hot that we didn’t care what we looked like! (Curtains, candelabras, and a “heat wave” made the room feel a bit like an oven for a while! But what a GORGEOUS oven it was!)
We also did a little relaxing this summer… (Don’t you love the crooked lamp shade?)
This summer was also spent taking Maggie to gymnastics on Mondays. She learned a little bit about walking the balance beam and tumbling and a lot about sharing and staying in line!
Summer wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to our friend’s family farm. We picked berries and purchased the region’s BEST peaches, plums, and grapes.
We always go to the local Italian restaurant on Friday (family) night–no matter the season. The only thing that makes it better is when it’s summer time and the farmer’s market is also going on in the evening. We usually go just before or after.
Here, the kids are sharing an apple at the market while they listen to some dulcimer players. We have been ostracized since that particular night by friends who ran into us and couldn’t believe that we had the kids “on leashes!” (Clearly, they do not have young children…) 🙂
Some of our summer Friday nights ended with chocolate stains…
….That were later washed away in Lake Michigan.
Unfortunately, I missed this year’s Festival of Tables while traveling to see family. But I got a little bit of a “fix” by helping a good friend get ready for a couple of her dinner parties. Here is a glimpse of her dining room before guests arrived…
The kids also got a big kick out of visiting the farm that a friend was babysitting. They held bunnies, were bombarded by a pet goat, and fed broken eggs to chickens. (Eeeeeeeew!!!!!!!)
This was also the first summer that we camped. We purchased a Jayco trailer with bunk-beds in the back, and we’ve had a lot of fun trekking up north to a family-friendly campground with wonderful friends. The pictures below are from a Halloween-themed weekend. Maggie was a “love bug,” courtesy of her Omi, and Walt was a football player.
Another favorite summer activity was visiting the children’s museum in town. Both kids adore the bubble table. They also enjoy the truck, the tractors, the grocery store, the car ferry, and the dress up and art areas (see below).
We ended the summer with another camping adventure over Labor Day weekend. The kids participated in several activities, including an Oreo stacking contest and a bike parade. This was the weekend when Walt learned how to ride a two-wheeler. He was down-right proud of himself (despite the fact that he learned to ride on a PINK bike)!
The most memorable part of that final summer weekend was a fishing tournament. For a moment, the kids were quiet and shared a rock and fishing pole without trying to kill each other. These are the moments I live for — the ones that I wistfully play over and over again in my mind in slow motion like a scene from a movie.
So that was, in a nutshell, my summer.
Oh sure, there were lots of events that weren’t as picturesque that I haven’t necesssarily highlighted…like Bret’s dad enduring two major surgeries, my dad getting prostate cancer and having his own major surgery, and losing Bret’s grandmother… Those were stressful times, to say the least. However, by contrast, they made the good times that much sweeter.
Thus I look back and describe this past season using my favorite phrase from the main character in the novel Girl’s Poker Night: “It was cinematic, baby!”