Aside from Cooper's birthday celebrations, life has felt chock-full of summery things, good things, hard things, and all that is between. We are spending a lot of time outside, even on extra hot or rainy days, which has been a lesson to myself that it can be so good to go outside, even when it's not convenient or the most comfortable. I never quite finished There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather (I need to check it out from the library again), but the takeaways have been huge, about the importance for kids to be outside in all kids of weather, exploring and getting fresh air and learning things from the outdoors that can't be learned inside. And it's good for me, all that vitamin D and sunshine, and I have more of a "tan" (using the term loosely, since I'm still a fair Scandinavian), and more freckles than I have in recent years.

In list-form, here are some other things we've been up to:

Near-nightly spotting of fireflies

Visiting the library, checking out Curious George books and Thomas the Tank Engine books, and any other books we happen upon. Cooper loves the little tables and chairs in the kids section that are just his size.

A smattering of pink evening clouds in the sky.

Peonies, from our yard (from a few weeks back, but so beautiful, I wanted to include them here).

My little helper, in his mother's helper, helping me bake/cook/transfer chopped veggies/you name it.

Meandering through a new interactive garden across from the library, in the rain. We were the only two there, and oh, what fun Cooper had.

We are re-watching Downton Abbey for the fourth(?) time through. So dang good. We laugh out loud and tear up, and there are new things we notice with every rewatch and favorite moments to relive.

Drinking bulletproof coffee every morning. I add a scoop of collagen (grass-fed) and about a tablespoon of refined coconut oil, then use a handheld frother to whisk (a small manual whick would work too, just take slightly longer). Sometimes (usually) I also add a splash of plain nutpods to mine. We love the taste, as well as the extra fat and protein early in the day.

Cooking up some brown rice farina that I (re)discovered in the pantry and didn't want to waste. I tried a version with walnuts, applies, and cinnamon, and it was so good! Reminds me of all those years of adolescence and young adulthood when I ate Cream of Wheat just about every morning.

Coffee and/or breakfast on the three-season porch when temperature and time allows. It is the best place to sit on cool mornings, especially if I have some extra time before Cooper wakes.

An impromptu visit to a small local zoo! We had never taken Cooper to a zoo before, so this was very novel for him. We packed lunch-y snacks, drove a few towns over, walked around. Cooper loved the animals, and we also climbed their New Deal era tower and then stopped by the outlet mall for a few things. Cooper napped in the car on the way home, and we took the scenic route, talked in the car, while he slept, and we talked about the many things we love about where we live.


Dressing for a walk in the rain, and a bear companion.

Daisies are blooming. They are a bright spot of hope for me, and have been for some time. How special that the previous owners planted them, and we only realized it a few weeks back when they first started blooming.

Family walks after dinner, holding hands with our little boy.

Celebrating and remembering the life of Nicholas' Aunt Phyllis who recently passed away. A lovely service, and a wonderful woman. Praising God that she is free from the burdens of this life and worshipping with Jesus! We sang one of her favorite hymns, as well as I'll Fly Away. So good to see family and to meet a few family members of Nicholas' that I hadn't yet met. It was a beautiful night, the sun slipping down behind the grain bins, and the first sounds of firecrackers leading into the weekend.

Visiting a local farm that is now also a park. It was a drizzly, wet day, with ominous clouds, but we explored for awhile. He was particularly enamored with the tractors (kept saying "big tractors"), as well as some farm animals they keep on the property. He splashed in every puddle he possibly could, of which there were many.

Catching sun rays through our bedroom window, through the leaves of our linden tree, through the layers of trees in our backyard. Sunshine changes the look of everything. I'm sure there's a metaphor there. I've been listening to Vance Joy a lot lately, and his song Saturday Sun has a line, "No ray of sunlight's ever lost."

Saying "cheese" for the camera, and the cutest little grin.

Picnics outside with local burgers or our weekly BBQ. All meal options that are all so so good. I could eat a burger every day for the rest of my life, I think. And our thoughts on BBQ are no secret.

Snuggling up in the basement on a night with a tornado warning (we were fine, and so was our home). Bear came with us for that too.

Drinking tea in the evenings, knitting socks (because Summer Sock Camp is in full swing), and thoroughly enjoying a library book my mom recommended.

Coffee and the best catch-up chat with my dear friend, Molly. We sat on the porch, drank bulletproof coffee and ate paleo chocolate chip cookies, and listened to the rain hitting the metal roof of the porch. Cooper and her little girl played together so well and enjoyed those cookies too. It wasn't nearly enough time to talk about everything (it never is!) but what a wonderful visit, nonetheless.

Planting some new shrubs against the west side of our garage. Where previously it had been rather overgrown, now there are several varieties of spirea and a hydrangea.

Baking muffins with my little buddy, then eating said muffins on the back deck. Oh, I love him so.

Finding hope in God's promises, that we can trust the God who created the world with our present, moment by moment, and the future, whatever lies ahead. Praying for my own heart to hold fast to Him in love. My deliverer, protector, answerer, companion, rescuer, satisfaction, cherisher (Psalm 91: 14-16).

Finding beauty in the way the water beads up on our kitchen window, alongside sunlight peeking in, after a rain.