LATELY : : JULY 2018

July has been a weird one. I feel as though we crammed three months worth of living into one. Thankfully it was all good. Not as many little moments to look back on but plenty of big, hearty chunks of time.

The first three days were spent cleaning and packing for our trip to the beach. Once all of that was complete, we drove up to St. Louis to wait for our journey to begin.

We spent the fourth watching a few fireworks. We don’t really celebrate the fourth in any way, so it was nice to at least make some sort of note of the holiday.

On the sixth, we began our trip to Florida!

We made a stop in Montgomery to spend the night, visit my younger brother, and meet his girlfriend – who is the sweetest lady  –  and her awesome kiddos.

The following morning, we made a short stop in Dothan to say hello to friends.

We drove down back roads to the coast. The drive was so pretty. We had rain on the way there and thankfully no rain while we were actually at the beach!

Between stopping for lunch, the car accidents we passed by, and the six storms we encountered, the drive to St. Louis took an extra five hours. Ha! It was still, somehow, a fun time for all of us.

Buckey spent the fourth to the fifteenth at my mom’s house. That’s a lot of spoilin’!

The moment we got home, I left to be a camp counselor. Such a fun week!

We ran some errands in St. Louis when I got back and made some detours to kayak shop. We didn’t get one, but the girls had fun testing out every display. We’re ready for some fall camping!

Finally made it out onto the river! Our first time this year! Can you believe it? Hopefully, we’ll get many chances to float this fall.

Sadie came down to stay with us for a few days. The girls had movie nights, fashion shows, chased cats and held the hens. Before we took her home, we took them for an afternoon in the city.

I attend a monthly book club with Zack’s cousins and my sister-in-law. It’s so nice to talk to other women, even if its only for an hour a month. I’ll take what I can get!

Zack and I also squeezed in time to see Mission Impossible – Fallout and eat at a restaurant sans kids.

A while back I promised Mae we’d take her to a global foods market to try and find a “green coconut.” We haven’t been there in a couple years, so it was time to follow through, and wouldn’t you know, we found one! We also scored on food from Japan, France, Ireland, Russia, Brasil, and Holland. Most of it was stuff we already know we enjoy. Next time we’ll branch out more.

We start our school year tomorrow and I am so so excited!! Zack still has one more week before he goes back to work. I’m sure it’ll be a busy one!

ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM

My niece was able to come and stay with us for a couple days this past week. Before bringing her home we thought we’d take the girls to do something in the city. I’d been meaning to take my girls to the Art Museum for months now to see their new exhibit, so off we went.

No one! was on the hill!!!! Why?! Zack decided to walk Buckey before leaving him in the car, so while waiting, we took a few moments of advantage. The girls rolled and rolled and rolled down that hill.

As we arrived, one of the greeters told us they had a craft set up for kids if we were interested. As you can guess – we were interested. Each kid was given a package of model magic clay to create an artifact, and a cutout of a vase so they could decorate their own greek vase.

Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

The Ballerina, of course. Look how straight Mae’s posture got for this photo, haha. She loved this one. Zack likes this one as well. Wish he could’ve seen it.

The woman in this looked like Juliette Binoche to me and the colors were incredible. I really only appreciate realism. Anything abstract is just garbage to me – yes, even Picasso.

We stumbled upon a section devoted to newer eras – the 20s, 30s, 60s – and included furniture, mostly. As you can see, Mae was not the slightest bit impressed with the 60s. “I don’t want to see Ikea, I want to see old stuff!”

I love her so much.

Mae’s favorite part (not just of the museum tour, but of her entire life – she says) was getting to see a real Egyptian sarcophagus. We may take another trip just so she can stare at it longer.

Mae spent at least five months on a huge Middle Ages project – surrounding queens, kings, knights, and a bit on lowers castes. So, I’d have to say my favorite part was the knight gallery. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them absorb the reality of it all. Amelia thought that helmet, above, with the chain mail was a birdcage. Adorable. My favorite artifact from that area had to be a crossbow carved out of bone. Wish Zack could’ve seen that too.

Marble statues will always be the most unbelievable accomplishment to me.

Amelia’s favorite gallery was that of the Native Americans. She literally gasped when she saw it.

Zack never showed up, but we managed to find him anyway. har har har.

He enjoyed a long stroll around Forest Park with Buck and the pup certainly appreciated some quality time and a good walk.

CAPE SAN BLAS

A couple weeks ago, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s sixtieth birthday in such a big way!! Her birthday was back in March, but this year she wanted a vacation with all of her kids, so we all met up in Florida for a week together in one big house!

Our sandcastle technique improved drastically over the course of the week. We built more fortresses, larger wave blocking walls, and deeper moats at faster speeds (to beat the tide).

Most days the women would take a morning stroll along the beach before everyone else woke up. It was beautiful.

We have sand in our yard and sand on our riverbanks, but nothing beats the cool, soft sand on the coast.

These four girls together for an entire week was definitely a favorite part of my week.

Making Rice. She thought I was taking a video, so she gave an entire tutorial on her method. Basically, cook it the way you would stovetop popcorn and voilà! Perfectly fluffy rice, every time.

Seeing Pelicans fly overhead was another highlight for me! We love us some birds, and Pelicans are one of my favorites!

I’m so grateful my girls find such joy in each other everywhere they go. Ugh, I love them so much.

The house!!

Zack and I went shopping for the meal we had to cook on the first day. We ended up bringing home several boxes of ice cream…pops?

Over the course of the week, when someone would shop, they would grab more ice cream to re-stock our supply. I’m pretty sure the ice cream drawer is in everyone’s top five favorite things about the week.

“Zack’s Craft Corner” was always open, should someone need help with friendship bracelets, advice on a picture they were drawing, or a hearty, joyful over-the-top reaction to that polka dot octopus you just colored in with the ever illegal Sharpie.

Plenty of good food was cooked throughout the week. Each of the kids (and eventually, Uncle Rich) had a night to cook. My mother-in-law, of course, was not allowed to partake in the slightest bit of work. We tried to do what we could to make sure her vacation felt like a vacation.

Mae. Oh, boy. She thinks it is hilarious to ATTACK! Mom at the drop of a hat, say, while she’s preoccupied with the camera? She forgot she inherited both her sneakiness and her whips-for-hands from that very same mom. Even at home, she loses.

I can’t help but laugh (at something) every time I’m near her. She’s so wonderful.

Truly, these tall Adirondack chairs deserve their own post. Even the shortest of us enjoyed them.

Rae had zero fear in the pool! Lady was a fish. The girls spent every afternoon at the pool, as it allowed for shade if they needed a break from the sun.

Dot’n get sexier than that, letmetellya. Is that a child’s hat?

That beautiful vision before you spent six hours building (along with my incredible nephew) the grandest firepit known to man.

We spent two nights down in that pit roasting mallows and, our favorite part, star gazing. “Shooting stars,” satellites, airplanes, and so many stars. It was breathtaking.

Both nights Rae and I retired first. She would take a shower and we’d snuggle up and watch a movie before the others made it back. Rae also slept in our bed every night! The girls had their own room, complete with two sets of bunk beds, a couch, and a gigantic bean bag chair, but she chose her ever-grateful Momma.

Mid-week we decided to take the girls to a gift shop and to visit the local lighthouse. Well, the lighthouse was disappointing, but the land around it was not! Mae also had that dress set aside for weeks so she could use it specifically for shopping at the beach. Ha. She cute.

I took hundreds of photos throughout our nine-day journey, so while this post is traditionally long, I feel as though I’m cutting it short. Like our vacation, however, it has to end sometime.

Thank you for an magical week, Shari!