Summer is definitely in full swing, and that's keeping us incredibly busy here. Between family vacations and lots of time spent outside and the odd summer cold and preparing for the upcoming school year for our soon-to-be kindergartner, life has been chaotic lately. We usually don't share a lot of personal day-to-day stuff here at the blog, but I thought it might be fun to give you a look at what we've been up to recently.

Beach trip

A few weeks ago, we were able to spend several nights at the beach with some of our extended family. Our annual trip to the coast is one of the highlights of our year, and we got to share it with some of our favorite people this time. We were able to play in the sand and kayak and get sunburned and explore Fort Stevens and roast hot dogs and marshmallows and stay up too late and do it all over again the next day. This is what summer memories are made of for sure!

It was a different experience vacationing with extended family. It's been a while since we last hit the road with more than my parents and brother, and sharing a house among fifteen people, regardless of how much you love each other, is definitely not for the faint of heart! Living in a small house where we're often tripping over each other has given us a unique perspective on the importance of self-care as well as a self-awareness of how easy it is to get stressed out by constant interaction when you are an introvert. I definitely spent extra time organizing our suitcases when it all got to be a little too much for me, and think learning coping strategies for such situations is a huge benefit for introverts.

Of course not all of us are introverted, though my own particular family seems to be overflowing with them. Our amazing extroverted little Sunshine was having the time of her life, and she just bloomed with so many of her favorite people to hang out with all day long. It's so fascinating to watch and a good reminder to us that we need to make sure she has that interaction she needs to be the best version of herself that she can be.

In the end, we had a great time, and it's always so hard to come home. Sweetheart cried actually tears when I told her we were leaving. I think she would live at the beach forever if she could.

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Sick Days and Day Trips

After we got back from the beach, I came down with a summer cold that really knocked me out for a few days. We all know that moms don't really get sick days (am I right?), but I was so grateful for Chris taking the girls to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) so I could actually crash for an afternoon. Then both girls got sick as well, but somehow they still had all the energy for all the fun things. I need to find some of that energy for myself!

I talk a lot about how much we love our zoo and OMSI memberships, and we have gotten a lot of use out of them this summer. Chris has been taking the girls to one or the other nearly every Wednesday recently, and they absolutely love it. It's definitely the gift that keeps on giving! He usually decides based on the weather where to go, and the last couple weeks have been kind of rainy, so they've visited OMSI a few times. This week was a trip to the zoo, though. The Oregon Zoo has some baby flamingos and red pandas right now, and we're hoping to catch a glimpse of them soon. So far no luck!

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Preparing for School

As I wrote about recently, we're enrolling Sunshine in a class at the local homeschool center, and registration was this past week along with our parent orientation. It's getting real, folks. The stakes are still pretty low, but the immense responsibility of ensuring our daughters get the education they need is weighing heavily on us these days. It's bittersweet knowing that these carefree days of our older daughter's early childhood are winding down, but I'm excited to see her grow and blossom in the days to come, and I'm so glad that we get to walk this road with her.

I'm not exactly sure how much will really change for us on a daily basis once September rolls around. Learning is already such a big part of our daily lives, and that's how we want to keep going for the time being. But knowing that it all matters and needs to be accounted for and recorded now makes it seem so much more real.

Still to come

We have some exciting stuff coming up still this summer. The county fair is this week and we still want to visit Mt. St. Helens and take a day trip back to the beach to do some of the things we missed on our family trip. I'm hoping we can fit in a trip to the zoo in Seattle sometime, too, so we can see some gorillas in real life. We also have a big anniversary coming up (15 years baby!), and for the first time since Sunshine was born, we're going to be child-free for three whole days! We've talked about doing a movie outside with our new smartphone projector and we have more afternoons in the sprinkler and at the local splash pad to plan. I know that we're going to turn around and summer will be winding down, but we're planning to enjoy it to the fullest before it ends!

Then it will be time for school and crunchy leaves and pumpkins and harvest parties. Life is full.