It's August already! I can't believe it either. This summer has felt filled to the brim with so many good things, so many summer-y things. Beach trips, visits to new places (the zoo, etc), and lots of family outings. Of course there have been truly challenging things to walk through as well. But for the first time in quite awhile, I feel like we're enjoying summer. It's no secret that I love cooler weather and Christmas and all that the colder months bring, but summer has felt fun. Maybe since we're more settled in our home and we are more settled in parenthood, as much as you ever can be with a child who is growing and changing and surprising, and who we're growing alongside. There's something quite special about having a backyard, a deck to open the doors out to, grass for barefeet and sprinklers. Gardens to tend, nothing complicated this year, mind you. Windows that open on opposite sides of our home, offerings cross-breeze. Neighbors who greet us and mention how fast Cooper is growing. I think this is the first summer in I can't remember how long where I haven't been longing for the next stage. I have dreams for our home and family, hopes and prayers. But also I feel heavy with thankfulness for our life now, as it is, with The Three Musketeers, as we call ourselves. And knowing full-well that God has placed me here, in this time and place, on purpose, for His will and glory. I want to be awake and aware of my surroundings to be used by Him, here.

On that note, here are little tidbits of our life lately:

Slow (cooler) mornings on our three-season porch. I love this space. And this morning, featuring three of Cooper's bears and my knitting.

More beach days. On our most recent one, Cooper really enjoyed swimming in the lake with us. We're at the point in the season where the water is so much warmer than it was. Still chilly, because it's Lake Michigan, of course, but less of a shocking and more of a refreshing chilly.


Knitting away on my one and only work in progress: my Lodge Sweater. I'm finishing up the cuff on the first sleeve, so I'm in the home stretch, at least per my definition. I've tried it on several times in the evenings when its cooler, and I already know that this sweater is going to be the coziest.

And a little boy who wanted to try on the sweater too ;)

Visits to our County fair. Coop's highlights were the animals and tractors. He talked about them for days, and we visited three mornings in a row. One day with grandma and Aunt Katelyn, and one day with daddy too.

Remodeling our stairs (or rather, hiring a professional for such an extensive job). We are thrilled with how they turned out. Next step is painting and staining, which should be happening in the next week or two, and then I'll be sure to share before and after photos.

Sleeping in the guest room to try out the mattress. This is the first home where we've had a proper guest room. It feels fun to sleep in there sometimes, and kind of like we're staying in an AirBnb.

My mom reading to Cooper via videochat, and the way she always knows what books to choose that he will love (and he does). This week, she read to him while we sat out on the porch.

Blooms from our yard, specifically, Rose of Sharon bushes along our back fence.

Errands with Coop, to Hobby Lobby, the library, the post office, the health food store, grocery store, you name it. He usually choose something small to put in his pocket and bring along.

A little boy and his harmonica and a family smoothie date on a Saturday morning.

For me: a new pair of orange pants (comfy and cute and ticks all the right boxes for me), and lots of days where I braid my hair.

Rainy walks and examining coneflowers, like the ones my mom has grown in her garden since I was little.

Hydrangeas in bloom in our backyard. I'm hoping to dry some this year.

Chicken tacos, made with organic chicken thighs and our favorite marinade. Served with mashed avocado, salsa, and sauteed pepper and onions, all on a grain-free tortilla.

Visits from Cooper's great-grandparents! How sweet to see them.

Trips downtown for Coop to get a haircut and then a smoothie date afterwards for a treat.

Fort-making under ottomans, playing with Picasso tiles and cars and stuffed bears, and reading so many books.

A toddler who loves being wrapped up like a taco. He says, "Wrap baby," as in wrap me up like a baby. What a little ham.

And he always wants to snuggle or look out the window with his daddy.

The prettiest dusky drive in our town.

A shelf above where I usually sit and knit, turning on the light in the little house on cooler evenings, dreaming of cozy fall days ahead, but not wishing for them too fiercely.

The annual fireworks display for my in-law's neighborhood. So fun! Nicholas stayed home with Cooper and I had a fun night with my SIL, Katelyn.

A fun weekend coffee date with her, too!

And a night where we had a sleepover, watched the Olympics, did foot baths, and then she curled my hair the next morning after we drank coffee on the porch.

Family walks, usually with the wagon. And Cooper is getting the hang of riding his scooter, although we're still working on steering.

Practicing scootering with friends, too. We had to bring the lawn mower along, of course.

Nicholas' family over the other day after church, and Cooper rode on the swing next to his grandma.

And so many snuggles with a toddler so eager to give hugs and kisses, bears sometimes included. I can't count how many times he makes my heart melt.

And those are our summer days, the highlights, the joys, the parts that stir my heart to thankfulness.