Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello Fall.

It is officially fall.  I don't know why I find the change of seasons so symbolic, but I do.  I feel like the last days of summer need to have a proper good bye.  Like a going away party for your best friend, she deserves a proper send off.  That is exactly what we did this weekend.  Starting with a final ice cream treat downtown after dinner on Friday night.  Bonus...we had my littlest nephew and sis with us.

Don't get me wrong...there will be more ice cream nights.  However, the sun will not be as warm as it was that evening, the feeling not quite as carefree.  The desire for ice cream treats will cocoa treats will become the request.  Carefree will change to cozy.  It's all good.

Continuing with our farewell party into Saturday, the official last day of summer.  

We spent the morning in my sisters garden, digging up vegetables before the freeze comes later this week.  Coming home with a box full of deliciousness and fresh inspiration for a week of cooking.  

That night we had fresh corn on the cob, homemade potato chips from the taters we dug up and burgers I stuffed with jalapenos and banana peppers from her garden.  It tasted like a summer day.  

Before the BBQ we took the paddle board out for a final spin.  I didn't think we'd get an opportunity to do this again.  However, the temperature inched up to the eighty degree mark and I had an itch to squeeze in every last second of summer  so we decided to go for it.  The pond was deserted except for us and one other family that eventually strolled in.  The girls played in the sand, we took the board out and spotted a turtle and a muskrat and soaked up the sun.  It felt a little somber like any good going away party should.

In the end there were no tears at the final good bye.  Just a feeling of gratitude for the memories and times we had.  We'll keep in touch.  She'll be back next year.  

Sunday we welcomed in fall.  Instead of resisting I welcomed it.  We stayed in bed and watched a movie with the girls, skipped church and had a leisurely breakfast.  The air felt cool, but the sun was shining bright so we headed up Hyalite for a hike.  I love fall hiking.  The leaves are changing and it feels refreshing.  It took me awhile to be okay with the smell of fall.  It holds some negative association with me, and not just because it is leading to winter.  With both girls I had horrible morning sickness smack in the middle of fall...I can't help feeling a little nauseous still when the crispness hits the air.  It also takes me back to the days of Matt hunting.  When he first moved to Montana he was so into hunting.  Every fall he would be gone for days each week.  This continued through the first part of our marriage and into having babies.  Gone while I was in the midst of the hard baby days.  The days when no one was sleeping well and neither of us knew what the hell we were doing or what this parenting thing was all about.  It was hard having your teammate gone during that time.  Now we have this parenting thing figured out and it is easier to handle  on your own...but back then I struggled with him gone.  I resented hunting season because of it.  Matt no longer hunts, but fall can occasionally bring these feelings back up.  As the years have passed, those negative memories are fading and I find myself welcoming fall with open arms.  Enjoying all it has to offer.

We went for a hike to History Rock.  It's a large rock that for years people have been carving their names in to.  It's quite a sight to see...out in the middle of a nature this rock full of names, dates and pictures.

Matt took the knife we had forgotten and had to drive back home for and added the girls name to this piece of history....

While he carved I thought back to six years earlier when we had made this hike.  Two little girls in hiking packs, making our way up to History Rock for the first time.  The hike feeling much longer than it's couple of miles because of the weight of carrying an extra body.  I thought for sure our names from that hike would be long gone...faded away or carved over by someone else.  I was looking  at the hundreds of markings and suddenly this popped out...

MJ AJ AJ LJ.  Six years ago.  Yet it feels like yesterday.  I can picture Matt standing there carving the letters while I tried to entertain a baby and keep a toddler from trying to climb the rock.  Carrying kids back down and finding that Layla had soaked through all her clothes and the hiking pack because in a bad mommy moment I realized I had forgotten to change her diaper that morning.  We have come so far.  This time the girls blazed up the trail...noticing wood peckers in the trees, picking up pine cones and squashing mushrooms.  One day in the future we will go there again and look for our names in History Rock.  One day, they may go with their friends or own families and search for their names.  Our own little piece of history.

After our hike we went to the reservoir for a picnic.  It was cold and windy.  We ate quickly, ran back to the car and headed back to town where it was ten degrees warmer.  We said farewell to Hyalite until next summer.  

And, Ava got to go horse-back riding again.  This time sister got to join her.  Happy girls.

Happy fall.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer to Fall. Transitions.

Last weekend Ava came in from helping Matt in the garden and asked- 

"Mom, if we pick a pumpkin will you please, please, pretty please make a pumpkin pie for dessert for tonight?"  

Now, it was around 6pm and I was trying to make dinner and the idea of making a pumpkin pie for dessert was pretty much impossible.  However, this is not the reason I said no.  I looked at her and responded-

"No, ma'am.  I refuse to cook with pumpkin until it is officially fall.  Ask me next Sunday."  

We had one week of summer left and I was not ready to transition to fall type cooking.  I am still busy trying to incorporate all the zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes into every meal.  The time will come for pumpkin pie and bread, just not yet.  I hold on to summer until the bitter end.  Unfortunately Montana can make this difficult.  I held on tight on Monday wearing summer sandals and a very bright, beachy skirt.  It looked out of place as the dark clouds began to roll in that afternoon and by Wednesday I reluctantly wore long sleeves, shoes that weren't sandals and a coat.  Boo.  Once the clouds lifted there was snow on the tops of the mountains.  Time to throw in the towel.  Fall is upon us.  Time to get used to it.  I did so by not only changing my wardrobe but changing my cooking.  This week there was baking and comfort food time.  I started with zucchini bread because it seems summery-fallish.  I found a new recipe here and it turned out awesome.  The only thing I changed was instead of nuts or raisins I used chocolate chips.  That is always a good change.  I've been trying some new recipes lately and another great one I found was for these fudge chocolate peanut butter cookies...

There have been some complaints recently that there hasn't been any homemade desserts.  (I won't name any names, but it is the only male that lives in our house.)  Life has been busy getting back into school routines and I've been working more so homemade desserts have slipped off the to-do list.  Apparently I've set the standards a little high around here.  After holding out a couple days I gave in and did some baking.  I just needed a cool, dreary day for some cookie inspiration.  Who wants to bake when it's 80-degrees and sunny out?  I did enlist some helpers for this...

I love cooking with my girls.  Baking is the one thing they are always eager to help with.  Must be because I let them lick the spoons and "test" the chocolate chips before we put them in.  I even made soup one night this week.  It was cozy and warm, perfect for a day when the rain would not stop.  More easing into fall.  It was a lentil and pasta soup...full of fresh veggies from the garden.  Topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.  The return of warm soup dinners was welcomed with open arms.  

I didn't write last weekend like I usually do.  I always love recapping at the end of a weekend...but I wasn't feeling it.  I make a point to not write when I'm not feeling it because it comes across forced.  It was a lovely weekend.  A perfect blend of doing stuff and doing nothing.  An at home date night.  Sitting outside for dinner under moon and candle light...

We will continue these outside as long as we can.  Until it is too cold for only a sweatshirt.  Then we'll move them inside in front of the fire.  

A family weekend with few plans and the ones we had were awesome. A rainy morning that I was determined would clear up so I insisted on a family hike...

The weather did clear and it was a perfect day for a hike.  The forest was so green and smelt so fresh after a night of rainfall.  

Layla took my broken glasses and insisted on wearing them all weekend.  If anyone took them off of her she closed her eyes and said, I can't see!  She is such a funny girl.  I love her spunk.  

I will squeeze any hikes in I can before the snow falls.  I need a few more before we go into winter hibernation.  It is my opportunity to breath deep and center.  

We had a long overdue dinner with friends.  We've found a great way to make the cooking easy for this.  No big meal...appetizers and drinks.  We each make a couple things and we always end up with a yummy variety of food.  I went with all our veggies and made some Montana garden bread...

Basically it was pizza but since I didn't have tomato paste for sauce I drizzled garlic, olive oil and sea salt on the crust.  It was topped with fresh mozzarella and then only veggies from our garden or share.  Japanese eggplant, arugula, tomatoes, basil and peppers.  Yum.  We ended the evening with s'mores over the fire.  The weather didn't exactly cooperate.  The wind really came up and the kids fled with their s'mores and we all tried to sit it out, dodging blowing ash until we finally called it quits.  It was nice while it lasted.  

Sunday was a very exciting day for Miss. Ava.  After years of begging to take horse back riding lessons, we backed up all our "Always keep dreaming for what you want" talks and signed her up for lessons...
I don't think I've seen this girl so happy.  Or so in her element.  Normally a quiet and nervous-about-trying-new-things girl, she eagerly jumped into this.  With the ease of a seasoned rider and a confidence I haven't seen come out yet.  Every book she checks out is about horses.  Every time they play anything a horse is involved.  We waited to see if it was a passing obsession but it has stuck around.  In the past she has been in dance and soccer and seemed to get moderate amount of enjoyment out of it.  After this lesson she was a broken record for the next 24-hours about it.  If you were talking about something else, it always came back to Big Mac, the horse she rode.  The smile never left her face.  She is in love.  Now, I will be honest, there was a part of me that did not want her to love it so much.  Not just because of the expense that goes along with private horse lessons but I have a fear of her being hurt.  Hanging out with a 900-pound animal carries a bit more risk than say, ballet class.  I need to push my fears to the side and see where these dreams take her.  

Speaking of dance class, after a brief hiatus Layla has returned to this.  After a school year not being involved in any extra activities we decided to have them choose something for this year.  Last year with Layla starting Kinder it seemed like too much.  I continue to go back and forth on how much kids should be involved in extra curricular activities.  I feel like there is a balance between way too much (something every single night) and still trying a few new things.  Each girl being involved in one thing feels like a comfortable balance for us.  It leaves us time to squeeze in quality family stuff and them to spread their wings.  It's working well so far.  Our little dancer...

She was so proud of herself because she's "this close" to getting the splits.  It is such a privilege to watch these girls grow.

Today the sun came back out.  It is nice for the sun to make an appearance for the final four days of summer.  The crispness in the air reminds us that it is changing.  I will fight it for these last four days.  Rock the flip flops and open windows, even if I have to wear a sweatshirt in the house because of it.  And then I will kiss summer good bye.  And make a pumpkin pie.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Hike/Run.

This morning I set out to run the "M".  Last spring I started doing this occasionally in place of my routine morning run.  I loved changing it up.  Then summer vacation began so the hike-runs ended.  Lately the air is changing.  Mornings and evenings have a chill to them.  I know the days of hiking are drawing to an end.  For me anyways...I know there are plenty of crazy people out there who hike in the snow and ice.  No thank you, not for me.  If I have to put on anything more than a light sweatshirt I will wait until springtime.  Anyways.  This was to be the first time I went on a solo hike/run after a summer of hiking with my girls.  I anticipated some sadness.  Instead it ended up being a comical affair.  Ending with the breaking of my super cool shades.  Insert sad face.

I love these glasses.  They are purple and totally dorky in the hipster way.  Matt made fun of them relentlessly.  They reminded me of such a fun weekend with friends.  Now they are cracked and full of dog slobber.  Oh well...they were fun while they lasted.

The hike began awesome.  The air felt fresh and I set a good pace heading up the steep way.  Feeling strong and proud at the top because I didn't have to stop once to catch my breath.  I finally found by going up slow and steady I could do this.  Usually I start strong and find myself having to stop a few times on that steep trail up.  My heart was racing and my muscles tired, but I had done it.  

Sitting there, catching my breath, I did feel a pang of loneliness.  When I told the girls I was going to the "M" after I dropped them off at school Ava very correctly said "You'll be sad without us there with you".  She was right.  I love hearing their little voices on the way to the top.  The conversations we have on the mountainside I hold close to my heart.  However, I have come to terms with my babes growing up and spreading their wings at school.  I no longer have babies or toddlers who need me twenty four seven.  While they are exploring their new world and growing independence, I have to remember to find mine again.  The separate one from mamahood.  It is something I can always find on a mountain trail.  So after a brief thought of my girls, I put my headphones back on and headed for my run down the long way.  This is where it got comical.  I had my car key stuck in my arm band along with my phone for music.  I picked up my pace and felt like I was flying down the mountain.  The run down is the best part.  Muscles tired from the scramble up, push through.  The view is of the surrounding mountains and our city nestled below them.  I was passing people who were on a leisurely hike and with a quick good morning I ran past feeling like an Olympic runner.  You get that feeling when running downhill and the wind pushing you on.  My thoughts were clear and I felt happy and content.  I'm over half-way down when I look down at my arm band and notice the key is gone.  Sh*@.  I was so lost in thoughts of flying down the mountain, feeling good, rocking out to Imagine Dragons on Pandora I didn't hear or feel them come loose and drop on the trail.  I turned around and began to make my way back up, retracing my steps. least there is a red heart key chain on there so it should stand out.  Also thinking if I don't find it I know my mom will come rescue me but dang, that key is gonna be expensive to replace.  I see a woman coming down and I ask her if she noticed a key.  Yes!  She had seen it...a little further behind her near the sign for the short cut.  I continued on my way, hoping the gentlemen I had passed on his way up the trail didn't also see it and decide to take it to the top to see if anyone lost it.  As I approached the sign there was no key to be found.  Looking up I saw the guy talking to two girls on their way down.  I just knew they must have been talking about the key...but they were too far to yell.  They parted ways and I hoped the guy had given them the key and not kept it on his way to the top.  I continued my run to the girls and before I got to them, one held up  the key with a big smile on her face.  Phew.  She said she knew it had to be mine because I had passed them earlier and she saw the red heart.  (Matt you can stop making fun of my key chain now.)  In the midst of this all my super cool purple shades had fallen off and both Sadi and I trampled on them.  I had my key in one hand and broken, dog slobbered glasses in the other for my run back down the mountain.  This time the smug feelings of flying down the mountain were quieter as I laughed at myself going up and down the trail.  All is well that ends well, right?  It was still an awesome run.  

Our zucchini is going crazy right now.  Matt didn't plant quite as much this year because he gets sick of it.  It bums me out though because I love having more than I know what to do with.  I put it in everything...bread, cookies, brownies, pasta sauce.  I did get a batch of lemon chocolate chip zucchini cookies in and they didn't last long.  And, I have been squeezing it into most meals.  The other night I made zucchini parmesan...

This is the vegetarians version of chicken parmesan.  It is so good.  I sliced the zucchini and breaded it with panko breadcrumbs mixed with basil.  (Dip it in a flour & salt mix, then beaten egg, then the panko to get it to stick well).  I cooked them in oil and then placed on a cookie sheet.  Top with parmesan and some fresh basil and bake until cheese is melty.  We put them on top of a piece of good bread and then added homemade marinara.  (I'll put my recipe at the bottom).  I love zucchini.

Layla came running into the kitchen the other day with Matt's new hat on and exclaimed "MOM, I'm going to Michigan"

This got us all talking about an actual trip to Michigan.  It is long overdue that we take these girls back to Matt's hometown.  For them to meet cousins and aunts and uncles they only get to hear about and see photos of.  I'm picturing a cabin on a lake in northern Michigan surrounded by Matt's family and friends.  Girls getting a better idea of where their dad came from.  You hear that MI friends and family???  Clear your summer schedules and give me ideas of the best places to's time for these Montana girls to head to the Midwest.  

Happy Thursday.

Marinara Sauce
(I have a few versions I like to make...this one I chose because I only had tomato paste and not a can of whole tomatoes.  And, it's super easy)
Saute some diced onions and minced garlic in olive oil for around ten minutes.  Add one can tomato paste along with 2-3 cans of water.  Season with sea salt, pepper, and around a tsp of each of the following:  basil, oregano, Mariam, sugar.  Add a bay leaf or carrot.  Simmer covered for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much time your have.  
Done...Easy, peasey.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Random Happies.

This past week we have been getting into our new normal routine.  School and work during the week and squeezing the last bits of summer out of evenings and weekends.  We were starting to hit our stride and then sis ended up back in the ER...after what was such a long streak of her not having any emergencies.  Not that she was better, but getting by while they figured out their next steps.  Friday morning that all changed and it totally sucked. This post could go a very negative way about how much it all sucks, but I don't really want it to go that direction.  Best way to avoid it is to do a good ol' list of happies instead.  Ya know...half glass full, make lemonade out of lemons...crap like that.  Here we go.

1.  Extra Cousin Time.

I have found the best way I can help when my sister is in the hospital is to take her kiddos and try to make life as normal as possible.  Make it fun and a little less scary.  Let them be kids without real world worries.  Friday night sleepover and then Saturday spent at a nearby pond.  The air was still summertime warm.  The pond was cool, clear and for most of the day our own private beach.  The kids explored...finding hundreds of snail shells.  

They took turns paddling around on the paddle board and jumping in the water to cool down.  

We had a picnic of cucumbers and tomatoes, which we have an over abundance of growing right now.  I took more than enough photos of kids on the dock because it was such an awesome view.  I kept singing the song "Sitting on the dock of the bay" while taking said photos.  Couldn't get it out of my head.

We reluctantly packed up when a late afternoon storm rolled in.  Kids were excited to go home to see their parents, but it always feels so quiet after they leave.  This morning when I asked Ava how she slept, she replied "A little kids sleeping on my floor".  

2.  Cooking!  
Earlier this week I sat down to make a menu and grocery list for the week.  For some reason I had a complete blank and couldn't think of anything.  We have so many fresh veggies right now, I want to plan everything around them.  I decided to go wild and not make a grocery list or menu.  Crazy, right?   I figured I'd grab a few staples and just go with "whatever" for meals all week.  This could have been a total failure for a type A personality like myself.  Luckily it went the other way and has been a complete success.  I loved cooking whatever I was inspired to cook on that particular day based on what veggies looked the best.  I think I needed some fresh creativity in my cooking and this filled that need.  Lots of chopping, sauteing or grilling fresh veggies and herbs.  Creating things as I went along.  Good stuff.

3.  Sunflowers!!  
Layla planted a tiny sunflower seed at the beginning of summer.  I believe she got it in a Valentine from her class.  Every single day this summer she has taken her watering can and watered that sunflower.  The day it sprouted she was so excited.  Every week she would give us an update on how it was doing.  Each day it got bigger and bigger, but never flowered.  Finally, finally it did...

Her patience paid off and she was such a happy girl.  

5.  A Weekend Home.
After a summer of planned weekends this one at home was a welcomed change.  No packing up the car to head to the mountains.  No plans.  It was awesome.  This morning was the first day of Sunday School so we ventured to church.  After a summer hiatus from it I wasn't sure how I felt about returning.  I did not come from a church going family.  A couple times here and there to get the gist, but not regularly by any means.  Once we had Ava I thought it important to find a church.  I think giving the kids a basic understanding of religion is good and because of my lack of knowledge in it didn't feel qualified to be the one teaching it.  I have enjoyed becoming part of our church community and the girls have been going to Sunday School there since they were each three.  This past year I have found my faith to be put to the test more.  From hearing all the horrible news in our world to my sister being sick, I started to question things.  I went from praying so hard on Friday morning...believing so strongly that He would make everything sitting at church today feeling skeptical of it all.  Wondering if I had enough faith to believe even when if feels as if all my prayers were being totally ignored.  I looked around at others sitting there, they were listening so intently and seemed so into it.  I felt like I didn't belong as I sat there with my cynical thoughts.  Of course, sitting in church thinking these thoughts does not give one a warm and fuzzy feeling and so then I felt bad and thought at any moment lightning would strike down through the roof on the non-believing lady sitting in the back pew.  However, as I looked up at the skylights for the lightning strike I was expecting all I saw was a bright blue sky and a few white clouds floating by.  A feeling of contentment came over it was okay to feel these thoughts.  It was okay to question things...He doesn't care.  It was okay to pray really hard one day and wonder why nothing was happening the next.  That is having faith.  I left my skepticism at the door and left feeling a little lighter.  If it returns, that is quite all right.  That's just life.  Best part of the return of church was getting to go to lunch out afterwards. was a beautiful day so we got to have lunch outside with a cold beer.  Yes, I did just talk about church and beer in the same paragraph...that's just how I roll.

5.  This Guy.

Our relationship, like so many others, has ups and downs.  I feel really lucky that it seems to have so many more ups and I am happy with how we handle most of our downs.  I'm really proud of him lately.  He started back at school this year.  Awhile ago he decided he wanted to do something different with his career.  He wanted to get out of the corporate world and become a teacher.  A lot of people talk big about things they want to do, but he's actually doing it.  It may take a few years.  It will take hard work.   But, he's doing it and I love it.  I love seeing him so excited about something.  I love the example it shows our daughters...the importance of following your dreams.  He teaches Sunday School and today I walked by his classroom and peeked in.  I saw him in his element and it made me smile.  He makes me happy.  I like him very much.  

I don't really think this post could have gotten any more random and scattered.  I think I should stop before it does.  

Hope your week is a good one.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ups and Downs.

Last week was a bit of a roller coaster.  I'm not one to wish time away, but I'm sorta glad it's over.  With the first week of school, friends visiting, Labor Day weekend (also known as the official goodbye to summer) there was a lot going on.  Not in a crazy busy way...more of an emotional way.  It wasn't just me feeling this...anxiety was running rampant in our house.  Usually if it's only myself feeling a lot it can be off set by the rest of the family and vice versa.  When it's all of us, there is no one to balance us out.  Except maybe the cat, but let's be honest she's always pretty bitchy so that's no help.  

Anyways.  The first week of school was of course, the obvious cause of hyper sensitive feelings.  The anticipation leading up to the first day, going through it, getting back into is all a lot.  The first day went great.  I dropped my babes off...spent my day missing them...anxiously picked them up and with great relief was met with big smiles by both at the end of the day.  I spent the walk home hearing about both their days.  Each talking over one another, trying hard to be patient for their turn.  First day success.  Then came day two.  All seemed well until we got in the drop off line.  I turn to give my hugs and kisses and "have a great day" and I was met with a very sad Ava face.  She told me she didn't want to go to school as her pretty blue eyes filled with tears.  This is always the moment as a mom that your heart breaks a bit.  When you see your baby feeling so sad and you struggle to find the words to make it all okay.  In this particular moment I wanted to say "Okay babe, one day of third grade was enough.  Let's go home and put our suits on and go to the pool.  Maybe we'll get ice cream afterwards."  Instead I gently asked why she felt that way after having had such a great first day.  She replied "I just like being home with you."  Insert more heart breaking.  After talking a few minutes I had her smiling and ready for her day.  However, the tears and sadness were all I could take with me throughout my day.  By the end of the day all was well.  After a little more talking I truly believe she simply didn't want summer to end.  The realization that it was over and school was really starting set in.  I got it.  I felt the exact same way.  Even though both girls enjoy school, it is still hard to change and get back into the routines.  Everyone was a little more tired, a little more emotional.  

Part two of emotional roller coaster week. I had one of my best friends in town visiting.  It's been a very long time since I have seen her.  Catching up was fantastic.  A couple of late nights, but totally worth it.  It is one of those friendships where it doesn't matter how many years pass, we can pick it back up.  We haven't lived in the same town for 17 years.  We don't keep in touch very well.  And, it doesn't matter at all.  An easy, beautiful friendship.  

After time with her I always get to thinking.  I think in life we make many choices that lead us in different directions.  I feel so very happy with the choices I've made to get me where I am.  I feel fortunate to have the life I have.  It took most of my twenties to get to the contentment I feel now in my thirties, but I finally have it.  I think it was solidified when Ava was born and I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.  However, I think everyone occasionally thinks about paths not taken.  Different choices you could have made that may have led you elsewhere.  When I am with this particular friend, I think more about different paths chosen.  She left for college, I stayed in-state.  I moved around to a couple of places and then settled back in my hometown.  She moved down to Cali and made a life for herself there.  I became a mom, she became a career woman.  She travels to exotic places, I find happiness in our mountains and lakes.  Both are amazing paths and I wouldn't change anything about mine.  But if I'm being truly honest with myself, thinking about it can make me wonder.  It shakes the contentment I feel ever so slightly.  It makes me want to pack up my family and head someplace else for a new adventure.  On the other hand, I love our amazing town.  Getting to see it through the eyes of her friends who were here for the first time was a good reminder.  I am very happy with my path.  And excited about where it may go next.  All these thoughts simply added to the emotion of the week.

And, then came Labor Day.  The oh, so sad Labor Day.  The goodbye to summer.  Just as Memorial marks the official beginning of summer, Labor Day marks the end.  We crammed a lot in our summer.  Almost every weekend was spent camping, hiking or at the river.  I really didn't feel like packing the car up one more time to go anywhere, but we just had to.  We decided to keep it simple and go to the river.  Pack some swim suits throw the board on top of the car and go.  It was a beautiful weekend.

We were planning on staying only one night.  Like I said, knowing it's the end I kinda wanted to get it over with and come home.  Silly me.  It was like I didn't want to be sad about it being over so I thought if I told myself I wanted to go home it would be easier.  This worked the first day.  Then the next day we floated the river.  The sky was bright blue, the river was a perfect lazy pace.  Girls were giggling, lots of splashing and cold beers.  At the end of the float Matt suggested we stay one more night.  Little girls begged "yes! yes!"  My dad offered to go into town and grab pizza at my "I didn't bring anything for dinner" resisting.  Deal sealed.  We were staying.  Staying one more night to soak up the tiny bit of summer.  Good decision.
One more river sunset...

Very happy girls...

One more paddle board.  And, both our girls figured out how to do it on their own. Love it.  I think we're gonna need a few more boards.

One more campfire with s'mores.  One more night of looking for shooting stars under the dark night.  It was awesome.  Monday was somber.  I let myself open up to soak up the last weekend of summer and sometimes when you open up, it sucks in the end.  But, it was worth it.  We cleaned and packed up and headed home.  Emotions were still high. Ups and downs.  Once home and unpacked things began to settle.  Life jackets and swimsuits were put away.  Backpacks and lunches came out.  It was okay.  I was ready.

Today things feel normal again.  We are settling back into school routines.  There have been no more tears at drop off.  The middle of the day still brings summer heat, but the coolness has settled in the evenings and mornings.  Signs of changes to come.  I am not thinking about where we should go camp this weekend.  This is okay.  It's time for things to calm down.  Stay home.  Relax.  Get ready to embrace fall and all it's loveliness.  

I end with a quote I found I am loving.  "There are three solutions to every problem:  Accept it, Change it, Leave it.  If you can't accept it, change it.  If you can't change it, leave it"  Wise words.

Happy day to ya.