Parenting is full of cliches. "The days are long, the years are short," we're told when the kids are little. "Don't blink, it goes so fast." Cliches are like old sheets - you sort of hate them, but that doesn't keep you from pulling them out of the closet every now and then when you really need them. But the thing about overused and unoriginal phrases is, there's a lot of truth tucked into the creases. I honestly can't believe how quickly the summer screamed by.
When my kids were itty-bitty, summer was so hard. SO HARD. It's our busiest time of year for the business, so Erik traveled non-stop and I was home with a baby and a toddler. Those were tired, tear-filled months. I remember a friend coming over for coffee one morning and she asked me how I was doing, and I just burst into sobs and said, "This is just so hard and I'm just so tired."
But here we are, now with an 8 year old and 5 year old (soon to be 3rd grade and Kindergarten), and everything they tell you is true. It gets so much easier. It gets so much better. You'll love it more and more every year. I promise, summer gets fun.
It's all true. Summer with my kids this age is actually really, really fun. They're old enough to just take off and play with friends, they're old enough to entertain themselves, they're old enough to make camping and travel WAY less work. They get themselves snacks and drinks, they clothe themselves and they can swim on their own. Summer with kids, I've come to learn, can be kinda rad.
But right when you come to that realization, you start getting the "Back to School" info from the school district and you order supplies and the kids are picking out new backpacks.
I am absolutely looking forward to the start of school. I love routines and so do my kids, and they're really looking forward to being with their friends more. Both of my kids thrive in school for different reasons. But for the first time, I'm also a little sad that summer is over. We had a fun one. We went on rafting trips, we mountain biked, we swam in the river, swam in the lake, and swam in the pool. We played soccer and explored canyons and slept on the trampoline under the stars. We traveled to see friends and family, watched movies, had water gun fights, played backyard baseball, ran through the sprinklers, and ate more ice cream than we probably should have. It's really been... well, the best.
Like the rest of summer, August kicked off hard and vanished too quickly. We finished Wee Soccer, which was a smashing success with this mini athlete:
We went to Oregon for a week to go on a river trip with family, and all of the cousins got to be together for the first time in a few years. We were busy having so much fun, I forgot to take a single photo the whole trip. (You know it's a good one when you don't even remember to bust out the camera!) On the way home, we made a quick detour to a place Erik has always wanted to check out. Crack in the Ground (that's really what it's called!) did not disappoint:
We stopped at the logging museum where Scout got cozy with a bear:
The museum was next to a river that just mystically springs up out the ground about a half mile up from where this photo was taken. I love Earth:
We took summer attire very seriously:
When we got home from Oregon, I took a trip down to Utah just a few days later. Many of you know, but five years ago I started an organization with Emily Belle Freeman called Multiply Goodness. It was a place, both online and in person, where Christian and LDS women could come together and be in relationship with one another. It took five years to get this thing up and rolling to a level we could call it a "success." This summer, hundreds of women came to live Bible study events, where they studied together and found what they had in common. It was just beautiful to behold. So for the last event, I drove down to Lehi to be a part of it, and to help announce our merger with another amazing organization, The Small Seed. (I'll write more about that later.)
Since I made the drive all the way down to Utah, I took a couple of days to visit with close friends, all of whom I haven't seen since we moved to Idaho in March. It was like a balm to be around people who knew me so well. You forget how much that matters, or how you forget that you're in the "getting to know you" stage, until you go back to where people know the good, the bad, and the ugly about you & your life.
During the time that I was in Utah, Emily's daughter Grace went through the LDS temple for the first time in preparation to serve a full-time mission. This is a huge moment for every faithful Latter-day Saint, sort of a rite of passage, a marker in their faith journey. Emily's family is like my family, so of course I went to support Grace. I'm not LDS, so I wasn't able to participate in the ordinances (or even get past the front desk), but I had a lovely, quiet hour of reading in the temple's waiting room. And seeing her walk in when it was over, the tears of joy in her eyes, made me so grateful to be there, to be the first one to give her a hug when it was all over, to be the first one to tell her I was proud of her and so happy for her. It was a special moment for me as Auntie Nish.
I made the seven-hour drive back home the next morning and all of a sudden, here we are. The week before school starts. We're squeezing in as much summer fun as we possibly can before next Tuesday. The days are getting cooler already, we're starting to inch toward earlier bedtimes and earlier wake-ups. School supplies and backpacks have been delivered, we'll have one last bash with friends at the lake, and I'm planning all the details for our big Back-to-School dinner, where we'll have a family theme for the year and I'll brace myself for having two kids in grade school, at the same school.
We're so ready, but we're so not ready.
Don't blink, it goes so fast.