Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last Days of Summer

The light is shifting, hitting the front door at a new angle in the morning, washing across the porch from a more southern place. I can tell things are changing. We've crossed over to the last days of summer.

Running the trail last week, I hugged the mountain side for shade and noticed the thistles, all dead and bent. The sun has scorched the hillsides, left them brown. And on the wind I can catch the faintest smell of Autumn.

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ice cream @ sunset

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It's been a glorious summer. Packed with adventures, outings, learning, and building (I'll report on our summer plan in another post). My favorite perk has been waking the children late, letting them sleep in because we had nowhere to hustle off to in the morning.

I enjoyed having them all home - so I could read with them, teach them, cook side by side with them. We had no constraints, no schedule to hurry us along. We dropped all activities for the summer besides swimming lessons and piano practice.

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swim lessons week 2

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liz - do I get a prize for practicing this summer too?
oh, some days were brutal.

The kids rarely asked for a play date. They had each other and that seemed to be enough.

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"Pile on Liza!" yells Eliza.

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In retrospect, I think it might have been wise to give them some distance from each other on occasion. I refereed a number of significant battles and some days the infighting cooked me to a crisp. But all in all, they were pleasant with each other. And seeing them race around the driveway on their bikes or line up on the couch for a movie together gave me a feeling of deep contentment.

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one of our rare play dates. a tea party with katherine and parker.

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beautiful katherine

While I can sense we're ready for a change, I am sad to say goodbye to summer. I'll miss the tingly warmth of sun on my skin, the brassy evening skies, the monthly full moon rising over the mountain, and those after-dinner hours when the light is soft, the grass is cool, and we can swing, chase, laugh.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the last few months. (Thank you iPhone. And Instagram? You have been so much fun).

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oakley rodeo

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cousins' party.
bless you kenny and susie for making all those balloon hats!

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water slide @ grandma's

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eliza finally finding her rhythm, last week of lessons

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we adore tommy. all the girls had him for a session.
he works swimming miracles - truly. i wrote about him last summer.

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i was still trying to meter my camera when i took this shot,
but for some reason i like it over-exposed.

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laughing with my dad

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alpine slide - eliza goes solo!

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pitting cherries

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ali gets a sour one

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first successful errand without a stroller! old navy for flip flops

It's been a happy summer. I wouldn't change much. But I must admit, there were moments when I briefly lost my way. I got derailed by the constant mess (did I mention I cleaned craft paint off the carpet today, the boys ate an entire package of cookies behind the couch, and tonight they pulled out all my pink vincas!). I felt frustrated that it took us until 5PM to finish the kids' jobs some days. And occasionally Eliza lost all her privileges in a matter of hours. Throughout the summer I had little time to regenerate, write, or even think quietly.

So I loved this reminder from Ann Voskamp: 10 Ways to be a Happier Mom. She keeps my eyes turned heavenward, reminds me that children aren't commonplace, patience always wins, and laughter really is good medicine. It is worth reading.

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eliza's first time off the high dive - our last day at the pool.

Many of you have already sent your kids back to school. But for those of you haven't, enjoy these last, sweet days.

Oh summer, we're going to miss you.

10 comments:

  1. Oh God, I can't believe it's only two and a half weeks until school starts again. Like you, I love not having to wake the kids in the morning, to have them live into the day, to let their "soul dangle" (my online dictionary spits out "to take a break from everyday life," but that doesn't really describe it at all, ;-)).

    I love the pictures -- and my youngest one, too, learned to swim this summer -- we were at the beach in Italy, and she saw a much older boy at the pool, who couldn't swim. So, typically for my daughter, she looked at him, looked at her swimming aids, took them off, and jumped right into the water... (Olympia 2024, here we come, *ggg*).

    We had bad moments, too, but then: sometimes it's better to explode for a few minutes to let the steam off, cool down -- and get back to being relaxed.

    So, here's to a great summer -- and to the fun autumn afternoons ahead of us, filled with walks in the woods, candle light, potpourri, cuddling...

    By the way, I love the picture of one of your boys eating ice cream. I have one exactly like that of my son, when he was that age, and I still love looking at it.

    Love,
    Corinna

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  2. I have also noticed that change in the weather. Still warm, but the change is on the cusp, right around the bend. You can feel it. I am so excited because this is probably my favorite time of year (Fall thru Christmas). Yay!! Just this morning I was talking to a neighbor and saw color on the hills behind my house. YES!!

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  3. Catherine - I swear you and I were destined to be friends. I grew up near Oakley and went to school in Kamas, so seeing you at the Rodeo and then in Park City made me smile and feel like we should have been hanging out together!

    I resonated with both your love for the summer and for your moments of drowning and losing sight of the beauty of it all. Amen!

    (And another reason we should be friends: I saw a random post from you about David Wilcox. I love him as well and saw that he's coming back to UT for a concert in Nov. I'm so tempted to book a flight just for that week so I can hear him! I haven't seen him live since college, but he is so phenomenal).

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  4. I LOVE the summer recap! I always miss summer and am so happy when it rolls around each year! Love you!

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  5. Corinna - "here's to...fun autumn afternoons ahead of us, filled with walks in the woods, candle light, potpourri, cuddling..." that sounds SO delightful! Thanks for all your wonderful thoughts. And the beach in Italy? To die for. Yes, let's plan for 2024! ;)

    Elizabeth - Fall is my favorite time of the year, most definitely. (It helps to have an Autumn birthday.) And wow - you are already seeing color? I best keep an eye out here. Still over the moon about your news!

    Melanie - got your sweet email. Will respond soon. Goodness, we were probably haunting the same sites growing up, passing each other unnoticed. And if you love DW, then you are an immediate kindred soul. Wish it would have worked out to see you this summer. Another trip? Another time?

    Deb - called you today. Have a fun story to share with you. Thanks for reading. I know you love summer. ;) xoxo

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  6. I always feel inspired reading your blog. You capture the greatest moments in your photos and you word things so beautifully. I feel the same way. I love those summer days when the kids are all home and playing together. I think the squabbling is good practice for conflict resolution and forgiveness (and practicing patience!!). Now that school has started, I'm loving being on a schedule and I treasure my time with them in the mornings and afternoons. And, oh, how I LOVE autumn!! I also love that your kids play with katherine's kids. How fun! I love you, Cath. -Jen Hribar Jacob

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  7. Simple summer. A perfect idea.

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  8. Cute tea party pics! Will you send me those?

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  9. Jen - you're always so dear to visit and leave a note. And I know you're right about the squabbling. The more they can negotiate those waters themselves, the better! I want to see you. Please tell me the next time you can afford a few minutes when you're up to visit your mom. xoxo

    Liz - simplicity. always trying to journey there... xo

    Kara - of course.

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  10. Thank you, thank you for that link to Ann Voskamp's list. I haven't read her words lately, and that post was just brilliant.

    Cath, your kids are so, so lucky to have you as their mama. You have given them so much magic and love this summer. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures.

    For me, this has been a summer of surrendering to my imperfections as a mama and as a human being. This has been a season of having my soul exposed layer by layer to my view, and it has been humbling as I've come to truly see how desperately I need God. I have put my kids in God's hands again and again as I have come up against my own limitations in leading them. Grace. Again and again, it all comes down to it.

    Blessings to you as you transition back to the busy school schedule. How I hope that Doug has had some free time.

    Thanks for all you do on your blog, connecting with people in such a loving, embracing way and sharing your insights and beautiful moments. xoxo

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