First, we (Michael) built a castle swing set for the girls. He designed and built it all on his own (except that river that Annalyn drew into the plans... execution of that one is still pending.) Soon we will be able to paint it and add the drawbridge I drew into the plans and it will be complete (at least until we add another tower... or a river).
Next on the agenda was a little family vacation up to Michigan. We enjoyed visiting the beaches, hiking the dunes, picking up some of our favorite fruit wines, and finding an awesome Danish bakery.
The best part of summer for us is the extra family time since every day I'm off, so is Michael. We definitely miss that during the school year, but also love the one-on-one time we get with the girls when the other parent is working. In an effort to mix in a little of both, we started splitting the girls up for special Mommy/Daddy dates. My favorite date was taking each of them to The Bee Hive an enjoying a honey bean latte. The ladies there even humored my request for a small decaf latte with a little cold milk for the girls (aka "big girl coffee"), and it was a huge hit. Michael's dates usually consisted of eating ice cream at the Dairy Bar while sitting on the tailgate of "Daddy's big red truck."
In July, we (mostly Michael) finally built a shed for all our yard equipment. Another pending paint job. More importantly, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a long weekend trip to West Baden Resort, sans kiddos! It was the first time we've left them for that long, but we had a very relaxing trip. Half the time it felt like we planned our days around doing "things that we couldn't/were much harder to do with the girls." Things like running trails through the woods on horses, taking as long as we wanted to eat dinner, sleeping in, watching anything but cartoons on TV, and not planning our entire day around meals/naps/cranky times/bedtime. Glorious.
The day after we got home, our amazing friend/relative/photographer, Elizabeth, drove 5 hours roundtrip to take our anniversary pictures. I'll post more about that once I get the pics back, but I will tell you they involved recreating some of our wedding pictures (and some new ones), in our wedding attire, and even incorporated our adorable girlies in dresses very similar to our flower girls' dresses. It was so much fun and really reminded us of exactly how we felt on that day 10 years before.
Aside from extra immediate family time, we've also enjoyed some extra time with our extended families and friends. My grandma and aunt came out to visit and see our house, which meant so much to me. I even snuck in a coffee with them at The Bee Hive (again, I'm a little obsessed.) Our sister-in-law and nephews from Virginia have visited a couple times, and we've been able to make several zoo trips with family. And we mustn't forget the play dates with friends, old and new! Or the amazing little splash park we discovered nearby. Ok, I'm starting to see why this summer went SO quickly!!!