Season of Love

I am telling myself summer is over -- college football has kicked off, I have gone back to work and our dining room table is filled with school supplies.  In so many ways, this summer has been wonderful. It has seemed long and productive, as well as restful and restorative.  The kids have spent most of the summer in a bathing suit and I've gotten to work out almost daily, which is what I consider success. Anna Cate and Molly both did swim team, which is such a big part of our summer, keeping us on schedule and active.  We talked our best friends, Luke and Leana, to get King Dominion passes. We vacationed in the beautiful black hills of South Dakota with my family, and the girls and I took a three week road trip to the beach and my home town. We've been with friends, we've relaxed and I think it has been a summer of fun and of lessons.

In South Dakota,  we learned the lesson of how important family is. Sharing our vacation with extended family was quite memorable!
I enjoyed an amazing weekend trip with college friends to New York.
The girls were happy with a babysitter and Daddy, and I hope the lesson is how important girl time is!

In swim team, we learned the lesson of showing up and listening to your coaches. One day, Molly didn't want to go to practice and she said, "I just feel like they are always criticizing me." The lesson she learned is that what sometimes feels like criticism is actually just someone trying to help you.

And there are things more important than competition -- friendship. Swim team allowed Anna Cate the opportunity to see her friend Elise, whose brother swims for another team. 

Visiting King's Dominion with 4 kids of different interest on thrill rides at three different height levels taught the kids how to compromise. …I think.  One day, when I was felt defeated that the kids didn't exactly get what they wanted, I told Luke after the berserker, his favorite ride, was closed, "I just want everyone to be happy," and he said, "I am happy." So, I learned some lessons too.

In August, the girls and I made a 3 week road trip, including a beach trip and time with family and friends.  

 The lesson here is the scenery is always better with a friend!

We squeezed in a visit with my dear friend Mary Helen, whose hospitality and wisdom blends her love of spirit with love of cooking and it was so special to be in her kitchen. She helped the girls prepare a meal for our friend, Meg.
These are friends we have because of my brother -- they are family members of his roommates in college. Interesting how life opens up friendships in all sorts of contexts, providing connections. 

In the midst of all our experiences, we enjoyed extra down time and I took advantage of time to sleep, run, do crossfit and practice yoga. I hope the lesson for my daughters is not "my mom is high maintenance who needs a lot of sleep and exercise," but that Anna Cate and Molly learn the value in taking care of yourself and your body. 

In Tennessee, we enjoyed slower pace of life before our life picked back up to rush of the routine back here.  
Needless to say, I enjoyed the time with my family. 
The girls enjoyed time with family in Tennessee, too.

 We got to see Kitty find herself in a starting kindergarten, and we visited her for lunch a couple days. 

The girls experienced a lovely Sunday afternoon, listening to live music and enjoying good food with a bunch of people who'd gone to church Sunday morning.  Check out this amazing gal here.
 And this gal's music here.

We reveled in the time with our family friends in Kentucky. 

We wrapped up the road trip with an overnight visit with my aunt, where the kids were treated to a real flying Chinese lantern and special attention and care from aunt.

We spent the last Sunday before I went back to work with a last hurrah spending the morning honoring the baptism of our friend, Jackson and the afternoon at a Nats game. 

But just as I was thinking life was sad since summer was over, we went to bed  Sunday night, ready to put summer 2015 in the memory books, we received the glorious message that the girls have a baby cousin.

Life continues to unfold joy in the seasons of every journey.  More of our summer here in this video.