The days are short, and summer is so quickly flying by. We have been busy since the last day of school on June 11th, and I have not been posting lately. The break has been nice, though! All of us are home together, and to be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. I like my summers, and I like to do my own thing, but so far it's gone very well. Stefan and I were talking the other day, and we agree that his being laid off has been one of the most positive things for our family and one of the healthiest times in our almost 10-year marriage. Strange, huh? It wasn't "bad" or difficult before the lay-ff by any stretch of the imagination, and I can't really explain exactly what I mean perfectly, but we are very happy. God's plan isn't totally clear to us quite yet, but we are assured daily that He is in the mix, and even I have found it surprisingly easy to just leave all the details to Him. I kind of look back on the last 6 months in amazement because if you would have told me say maybe 7 months ago that Stefan would shortly lose his job, I can strongly say I would have flipped out and never would have imagined a time like we have actually experienced. For that, I am so thankful, and I am learning to thank God at all times for everything. Stefan would be proud of me because as I have mentioned before, he is my glass half full, and I am clearly not wired that way, but I am choosing to see the good things that have been and are happening for us, even though difficult periods still remain difficult in some aspects.
Within the last month, we have experienced my mom's surgery, from which she is recovering well; my surgery (doing fine); a big garage sale and huge clean out of kids' clothes (yay!!!!); fun stuff with the kids like swimming at the beach and the pool, nature centers and playing outside, lots of trips to the library, hearing the DSO at Kensington, and then of course, the middle of the summer this past weekend with the 4th of July celebrations. We are planning some short trips and day-long adventures like Cedar Point, the zoo, etc., but those are yet to come since we haven't actually nailed down days and times, but they WILL happen!
I always get a little bit melancholy about this time every summer because July seems to FLY by, and then it's August and all those back to school commercials remind me constantly that my coveted free time and family time are quickly ending. Sad, but I am trying to live in the moment and by the day and not think about what happens in 7 weeks. I know those of you who have to work all summer long don't feel too sorry for me, but oh well. I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July, celebrating your independence and being thankful that you are an American. Our celebrations started on July 1 with my family and our annual outing to see the Rochester Fireworks. It was a little wetter this year with all the rain, but the fireworks were AWESOME, and the rain stopped for the show. Then, we had a bonfire, s'mores, and sparklers on Friday night and played cards with Josh and Emily. Saturday the 4th brought an eternal hometown parade that lasted 90 minutes, but I think it was well worth it, and then Saturday evening we went to church and over to some friends for fireworks (big, giant fireworks) in their front yard and a BBQ in the backyard. Sunday, we slept in and then headed to Stefan's parent's church picnic and had more good food and playtime with the kids. We capped our weekend off with a dinner at Cracker Barrel and then headed home to "decompress" and put our kids in bed. We said we would go to be earlier tonight, but since it's just turned into Monday as I am typing this, it doesn't look like a reality!
**There are lots of pictures of Slade because he likes to have his picture taken, and I love to take pictures and play around with my camera settings. I don't think I am great or anything, I just like to take pictures.