We were under construction for about 5 weeks at the beginning of the summer. We'd been hoping to refinance our house while rates were low, but the bank came back and told us we had to finish our attic "bonus" space in order to qualify for what we needed. So . . . with six weeks to finish, we somehow got the contractors lined up, did a ton of the work ourselves to move things along (especially electrical -- we owe a huge debt to our neighbor who helped us out a ton), and dealt with drywall dust and debris everywhere. But we felt incredibly blessed when we finished on time and were able to close on a no-fees, 15-year loan for less than 3.5%. We felt especially blessed because while the construction was going on, rates went up a full point. Tender mercies, folks.
Michael's favorite spot is this closet, which we've allowed him to fill with his Legos, giving him a place where the little girls can't destroy what he creates:
We had just one family trip planned, to Park City at the beginning of the summer. Since it's only 45 minutes from home, however, and construction was thrust upon us, the trip ended up being more of a "mommy trip" while my husband stayed home, worked, and dealt with contractors. Still, we had fun hiking and crafting and even driving to Salt Lake to visit the zoo one day.
In July, the world-famous Daddy Trip took place, with DH bringing six kids (Lillian, Michael, Allison, Sarah, Eliza, and Harmony), leaving me with "just" three (Joey, Katie, and Cami). While they were gone, my family had a reunion and I got to see some of my siblings I haven't seen in years. Joey was awesome and helpful and enjoyed the quiet time. He spent nearly every day fishing.
If you know our family, you'd not be surprised to hear there's been a lot of bug- and snake-catching going on this summer, along with two baby birds.
We've done a lot of hosting, particularly in July, when my brother brought his family, my cousin brought hers, and my husband's cousin brought hers. We LOVE having visitors and my kids loved getting to know cousins.
FUN & ADVENTURES
We've been hiking several times
Cami loves to push the others on their wiggle cars. She also loves to go for walks herself, and she's had no shortage of brothers and sisters willing to take her out in her stroller.
(and actually made it into a picture!)
We got passes to our rec center and went there a ton.
We watched this corn plant, which started as a little seed in a paper cup germinating on the window of Harmony's preschool, grow into an enormous plant given prime real estate in our rose garden:
We decided that since we almost never drove our big van (only on trips -- we take two cars almost everywhere else the whole family has to be at), we would sell it and give being a two-vehicle family a try. It's a bit bittersweet to say goodbye to Clifford, our big red van. We bought it back before Harmony was born, five years ago. It's seen us through many a trip and . . .
I've been shooting more regularly and loving it. I got a new zoom lens I've had my eye on for years and I love it! I should update my photography blog sometime and probably do more to promote myself, but mostly, I do this to have a creative outlet. For the next two months, I'm doing free sessions for anyone who donates generously to our ward's mission fund. People outside our ward are eligible, but the donation has to go to our ward.
This summer, I've done two extended families . . .
a newborn . . .
and of course, my girls (my boys would be fun, too, but they don't seem as anxious to get their picture taken) . . .
I ran the Utah Valley Half Marathon at the beginning of the summer, the Ragnar Wasatch Back in late June, and I finished up my summer running with another half marathon last Saturday -- the Hobble Creek Half. It was a great race. I didn't feel quite as prepared. My weekly mileage had dipped from about 25 miles a week in the spring to about 20 miles a week this summer, and I hadn't gone as long on my long runs as I had in the past. I got up to 14 miles before my first half, but this time, I just did 3 ten-milers. I definitely felt the difference. Those last few miles were tough, and the rolling hills as we came out of the canyon were hard on me. But I ran the whole way and finished within a few minutes of my PR from June -- 2:20:13. My knee has been giving me a few problems on some of my long runs and it happened again during the half, though not so painful I couldn't run on it. I'm debating whether to do one more half (Snow Canyon in early November) or to stick to 10Ks for a while.
At the beginning of the race:
and at the end, shining with sweat: