Tuesday, September 12, 2017


...Behind on this blog!  I guess that's what a week-long vacation and several hundred pictures will do to you.  I am chipping away, however, and hope to be caught up by the time the leaves change.  It's been a hectic few weeks getting everyone back to school, but we are finding a routine that is working and keeping us centered on what's most important.  But I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about next summer already.  Or maybe even Christmas break. ;)

Remembering: A few final summer bucket list items checked off in August.  We practically had the third baseline to ourselves at Riverfront Stadium for a Bucks game and fireworks night.  Cruz had been working hard to get to second base on his reading challenge and earned a free ticket to the game and the fun zone just in time.  It was Minion night, so Cruz and Mila had some fun with Bucky and a few minions. 

...We kidnapped one of Cruz's first friends, Liam, from Blessed Beginnings for a day.  Now that Liam and Cruz are at different elementary schools, they don't get to see each other as much, so it was fun to give them a whole day to play.  They played at home in the morning, and then we headed to Denver to explore their new city park and splash pad.  And let me tell you, Denver knows how to build a park!

Exploring: A new soon-to-be school in our own backyard!  It's been pretty cool to see the progress of the new Cedar Falls elementary school from our back windows, but we decided to get a closer look one night on our walk.  Growing up in a small town, I have many memories of having a front row seat to witnessing new buildings or projects built from the ground up, and I wanted Cruz to have a few memories of the same.  Hard to believe he will start second grade here next year already (and Mila kindergarten the year after that!). 

Loving: Our new front porch furniture.  After being inspired by my favorite front porch on my morning walks, I decided to make a change to the purpose and setup of our front porch.  I loved my black rockers, but wanted furniture that could seat more than two people, as well as a place that would invite an afternoon nap or a place to lounge with the kids or with friends.  I am so happy with what I found and feel like it has completely changed our space.

Reading: We have been doing more of that lately, too!  Cruz discovered a love of the new Dog Man series and they can't come out fast enough for him.  I am still on track to meet my goal of 17 books in 2017, and loved sprinkling in some fiction reads in my summer.  Now, though, I'm back to digging in to some non-fiction and love the spiritual insight they lend to important areas of my life.  I just finished Messy, Beautiful Friendship, and loved this Biblical look at how to nurture the kind of friendships Jesus calls us to have, and am now in Rhythms of Rest, a great read as our lives have picked up more speed this month.  And, my Bible study girls and I are officially a third of the way through the biggest book of all!  I spend 30 minutes first thing in the morning in my Bible, and try to find another 30 minutes after work or before bed to read my other books.  It's a rhythm I'm committed to because I know it frames my entire day in a more positive, life-giving way. 

Laughing: At being 'Elf'ed' on one of our craziest days of the school year.  Beau had just finished cutting and sanding all of our trim boards for the basement and the garage was a disaster, the cars were parked in the driveway along with every other ride-on toy we own, I was in the process of selling our rocking chairs, and the huge boxes that housed my new porch furniture were in the yard, waiting for us to haul them to recycling when we found a free moment.  I was home for work late, trying to scrounge up something for dinner and looked out the window to see two busy little elves decorating our front lawn!  We all got a kick out of it in the end, but I felt bad for our neighbors!  In fact, Kari walked over the next day and said the kids had something to ask me, to which they both asked, "What happened to your yard?"

Growing: Quite the variety of cut flowers!  It has been such a joy to watch this bed sprout sweet surprises this month.  I have loved putting arrangements together and have been keeping a journal of what has thrived and what doesn't seem to like it there.  The delphiniums are my favorite with their delicate velvety blooms, but the zinnias and aster have the most potential.  Most of the time, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, but that's what brings me the most joy.  It's my own little plot of God's beautiful creation to love and take care of.     

Eating: We have had a healthy balance of green smoothies and donuts this summer.  I started another Whole30 and have savored garden tomatoes with 'Everything But the Bagel' seasoning gifted from Kate.  Last week, a group of girls and I participated in a DISH night at Hy-Vee, prepping 11 freezer meals in 90 minutes for $130!  Stocking the freezer with so many yummy meals right as school was starting felt really great and we're considering making this a frequent girls' night.  And the best part?  Zero cleanup!   

Partnering with: Noonday Collection and their inspiring mission of creating a global marketplace to shop beautiful handmade jewelry and handbags created by women around the world.  Last month, I had the chance to partner with a few other women in the Cedar Valley to host a fall launch party at the new Single Speed in Waterloo.  It was a fun night filled with women I admire and love, great food and beer, and a beautiful jewelry!  

Celebrating: The arrival of Lydia Starbuck, the sweetest baby of our friends Chris and Julie.  We all got the chance to love on Lydia a couple of weeks ago and the kids were smitten with her.  And how could you not be with a face like hers?!

Making progress on: Our basement!  This has been quite the project, especially for my incredibly handy, hardworking husband who has spent many late nights and weekends down here chipping away.  We are hoping to enjoy the space during the cold months of winter, but it's also been a balance to not let it take away these precious summer and fall months.  We love how the bar has turned out thus far, especially our concrete counter tops and the brick front Beau just did last weekend. 

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