Monday, July 31, 2017

Colorado/S. Dakota Road Trip, Part 1

I'm a bit hog wild over summer travel. I love to go on far flung adventures, skipping around the globe and sampling a smorgasbord of cultures. (I inherited the travel bug from my dad, who worked for the airlines and loved it every bit as much as I do.)

But then I also love to go back to a familiar place and grow roots. The same place every year, so thick with memories that it's ours.

Every summer we return to Vail, Colorado, for our 4-5 days we call Camp Connelly

It's become tradition that we always spend our first night near Denver, where I grew up, with neighbors who have become my family - the people who've known me most of my life and still, remarkably, love me and call me their own. 

This year, Sam and Joe pulled out all the stops and took us out for a picnic lunch and shenanigans on their gorgeous new boat at Green Mountain Lake
The kids were just eating it up!
Let's have a look at those beaming faces.

Some of us took turns in the boat.

 One of us soaked in a minor sunburn.
And some of us took the plunge and hopped on the tube.

There were some crazy wild rides.
 (With lots of thumbs up to go break-neck speed.)
And a first ride together for Joey and Nate.
The Gryff could not get enough. He begged and begged for more!
 So grateful for Joe.
And for Sam, airline pilot and boat driver extraordinaire.
And for Laura and dear Tom, who I'm sure was with my dad, smiling down on us from heaven.
Thanks so much Covert and Schwartz families! See you again soon. xoxo

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Time

For the past two years, I've had a job during the summer and the kids have landed in camp. And despite some epic adventures and adoring teachers in that camp, these kids had the summer blues - they wanted to be home, and I hated dropping them off for long 7-hour days, even if it was part-time. I felt like I was missing out on these golden years with my kids. 

It's hard being a mom, tugged in so many directions.

But for me and my family, my priorities were askew. And never was it more obvious than during structured summer days.

This summer's different. This summer I get to soak up these kids and Mark and create memories together: not just bits of manufactured or penciled-in "quality time," but long stretches of unstructured quantity time. Summer time. Being-together time. 

Time for kids to just be kids. And...

Dan-the-Duck time.
Neighbor time (BB's Lawnside BBQ - yum).
2am @ IHOP time.
 Symphony time...

 ... complete with complimentary butterbeers.
 Dive-in movies...
 (Lorelei Vader.)
Drive-in movies.

Late night driveway movies (because we had nowhere to go in the morning)...
... complete with thumb wars.
This slow summer has been pure bliss.
 The Fourth festivities HERE.
That lemonade stand HERE. $102.68 in an hour - dang!
Gryffy treating the ladies to Orange Leaf, because we had nowhere else to be.
And extra vacation time. More of that on the way...
I think time is the greatest gift we'll ever give our kids and ourselves. And this summer, I'm especially grateful for it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lemonade Love

Lorelei & Gryffy have been wanting to do a lemonade stand for so long, and I kept putting it off because we live down a very un-busy street. It all seemed like such a hassle.

But when these kids teamed up with neighbors and insisted on raising money for Children's Mercy, how could I say no? And so we made a plan to meet at the busy trail intersection, ran to Walmart for some cardboard, pitchers, fresh lemons and a yellow table cloth, and the lemonade stand was on.

Our neighbor Ava made the lemonade, we got busy painting, and we packed up our table and things and set off. Then Sophie came and joined us, Mark set up his blizzard fan, and these kids danced around enthusiastically with signs and put on quite a show for business on this stifling summer day.

 And that little lemonade business was booming!
The kids were so excited to present the $102.68 they earned for their hour of work in person at Children's Mercy. Aren't they just beaming?
They even got to fill out an official form and sit at a desk, which they thought was pretty spiffy.
I'm so proud of these kids and their huge hearts. They're already planning their next philanthropic adventures with great anticipation, because giving truly is as much a blessing for the giver as it is for the receiver.

The Fourth

America's birthday went down with a bang and a sparkle this year.

The festivities began with our neighborhood's stellar parade. 
Gryffy opted for the hoverboard go-kart.
And Lorelei and Mark teamed up on the tandem.

And with anthems blaring through the streets, we set off toward the pool.

 Gotta love those fun bikes. And those firemen who showed up to help.

 Some of our cul de sac kids.
 On Sunday the kids and I went off to Topeka for a family reunion and stopped by Dad's old house, across from the Governor's Mansion. I have so many memories in this house and yard!
Whenever we drive through Lawrence, it's tradition to stop by Corpus Christi Catholic Church, where our family began (Mark and I married here).
And back at home, we may or may not have participated in some whiz-bang fireworks of our own. ;)

The Fourth always leaves me feeling patriotic and so proud of this country and our ancestors who fought for our freedom in that great Revolutionary War. I love America!