Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Lovin'

After a rainy and cool June it feels as if summer is finally settling in for the long run.  Finding an opportunity to sit down and write gets harder.  In summer life does slow down.  The usual routine gives way to lazy mornings, afternoon trips to the park and later bedtimes.  But at the same time it slows down, it also feels busy with the panic of squeezing everything in.  You see, when summer is your favorite time in a place where it only makes a brief appearance, you can't help but feel you must squeeze so much into it.  From last day of school to first day back we only have 12 weekends.  One dozen to fit in many camping trips, river trips, hiking adventures and simple weekends to stay home.  I try to calm these thoughts.  Keep with the slower pace and ignore the feelings of panic and enjoy these months I love so dearly.  

My summer favorites...

Camping-

I'm not sure why I love camping so much.  It's a lot of work to get ready but it always feels worth it.  Any tension I feel melts as we leave society and get on the bumpy road to nowhere.  

One reason I'm sure of is because we are away from everything.  There are no chores to be done when in the mountains, only fort building...

There is no distraction of television and electronics, only adventuring in enchanted forests...

There is no slaving over fancy meals, only cooking in tin foil over the fire while enjoying a beer and a book...

It is calm.  It is breathing fresh air and knowing how small you are in the grand scheme of things when tucked into the middle of a huge forest.  It centers me and I love how my girls love it.  The cycle continues.  Camping with my family as a young girl hold some of my fondest memories.  This particular camping trip we went to one of our old spots we frequented in my childhood.  My parents popped up to say hello and I was able to confirm where we were was a place we had camped many times.  As I commented on the girls running through the woods searching for moss and sticks, my mom said "it's exactly what you guys used to do."  This made me smile.  Wherever they may end up in life, this will be a part of them.  I like to think it helps strenghten the goodness in them.  

More summer favorites.

Hiking...

When camping is not an option I still feel the pull to the mountains.  Fortunately we live in a place where in a short thirty minute drive we go from the busy street our house in on to this...

Sounds of the firetruck sirens and traffic are replaced with pine trees blowing in the wind.  These girls are becoming quite the hikers and it is now easy to jump in the car and head to the nearest hiking trail.  When they were babes, these hiking adventures only happened on weekends when Matt was home to share the load.  Now it is so easy.  Water bottles and dog in the car and we can get lost in the mountains.  Pushing on to harder hikes without complaint.  Chatting carelessly about serious things and not so serious.  Such as...my most recent hike with the girls consisted of at least 2 miles of chatter about a magical backpack you could carry hiking.  With said backpack you could push buttons and get everything you wish for.  Anything from a candy bar to a back massage.  Oh, their little imaginations.  

I love hiking with my girls, but when we do get the opportunity for Matt to join us on a weekend, if feels complete.

He is my original hiking friend.  After dabbling in it in high school with my friends, Matt moved to Montana and changed my whole perspective on it.  Yes, I liked getting out there and hiking but didn't realize the beauty that had surrounded me my whole life.  I needed someone like him to come here and open my eyes to the wonder of where we live.  I needed someone to push me out of my comfort zone and up harder mountains.  And do it with a heavy pack on my back.  Yes, it always feels complete when hiking with him and our girls.  

Definitely up on my summer favorites, extra cousin time...

The school year is so busy and with everyone in different schools and various activities, hanging out with cousins they used to spend every day with gets harder.  With summer we can't think of anyone better to adventure with than cousins.  Taking nature walks just us is a good time, but throw in a few cousins add singing Frozen songs obnoxiously loud and it bumps it up to an awesome time...

And, probably my all time favorite summer activity, playing on the water.  Any water...


One of the main reasons thoughts of leaving this beautiful place we call home is to get closer to water.  I have grown up surrounded by mountains and they are a very close second place, possibly even a tie, to my love of the ocean.  The sound of the waves, the smell of the salt water, the feel of the sand...it makes me so happy.  Because of this, I love being on any body of water...lakes, rivers, swimming pools.  I was determined this past weekend to get our paddle board out for the first time this summer.  The weather has not, and didn't really cooperate, but we still got it on the lake.  I cannot describe the feeling I get while on the board in the middle of the water.  It is a perfect blend of happiness, calmness and contentedness.  The warm sun on my shoulders and cool water slapping on my bare feet.  It may not be an ocean right now, but water with the beauty of the mountains that surround it is not too bad at all.  

Oh sweet summer, I love you so.  

I found this in a book I've been reading and want to document it here as to not forget it...

Success can be defined in so many different ways and is individual to each person.  To me success is the simple things.  Be kind, be true.  And squeeze in as much camping, hiking, playing and swimming as you can.  This marks a successful summer.  And of course, plenty of ice cream.

  

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