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Hi.

Welcome, friends! This here slice of the Internet revolves around lattes, bookshelves, Pinterest, Emily Henderson, white wine spritzers, China, brass anything, passports and my sweet family. Grammar and important worldly events? Not so much. Consider yourself warned.

Explanations, Summer and Choosing Happiness

Explanations, Summer and Choosing Happiness

Photo Source:  Yuri_B from Pixabay 

So about that radio blog silence.

Yeah. Sorry about that. I feel like I should explain my prolonged blog-absence but, quite frankly, I’m exhausted just even thinking about it. Plus, there are slightly more important things happening in the world right now…like it ending. Thus, explaining my blog absence probably doesn’t really register as anything anyone really cares about. Amiright?

But…if ISIS was holding me captive and dangling me over a hungry pit of alligators, forcing me elaborate on why I have been gone so long, I think it would be safe to say that my absence could be chalked up to:

  • one-part summertime laziness

  • four-parts hectic start to the school year craziness

  • three-parts traveling and mommying busy-ness

  • two-parts trying to live more in the moment-ness

  • and at least three heaping spoonfuls of self-doubt, regret, and embarrassment (mostly over this post and the idea that I had absolutely any business telling anyone how to budget or use Excel).

But I am back. I am feeling the need to write. The need to reflect. The need to spread some goodness.

And because it is now November, I am finally feeling the need to update you on all things summer. You know why?  Because summer makes me happy. And sometimes you just have to put on your big girl pants and choose happiness. If you sit around and wait for it to find you, and you might be sitting a long while. But if you seek it, there it will be. Try it. It works*.

*disclaimer: most of the time

Plus, 2016 was a summer to remember and it MUST be documented. If it is not on the blog than it didn’t happen, right?

This year I am going to take you on the annual summer update a la Dave Letterman (click here and here to read past summer update posts).

So cuddle up with your pumpkin spice latte and artisan knit blanket…we are about to time travel back to the Top Ten Highlights of the Summer of 2016.

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10. Buying these shoes

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I’m not a shoe person. If it is summer, I wear flip flops. End of story. But this year I decided it was time for me to grow up and I ordered these sandals. I needed something with a bit more support but that would still look cute. Y’all! These sandals are the BEST! So comfortable. So cute. I am not even kidding when I say that someone stopped me almost everywhere I went to ask where I got them. For real. This NEVER happens to me! Probably because I am always wearing ratty flip flops, but whatevs. It was the first time I ever felt like I might be a fashionista (for, like, middle age, simple, not trendy people). Buy them now. You can thank me come June.

9. Eating delicious food

Trader Joe’s. The end.

8. Getting drunk on the regular

I’m not sure if I should admit this out loud and to the Internet, but I really enjoy a chilled adult beverage. I especially enjoy it (them?) when I do not have to wake up to an alarm the next day. I also enjoy them with friends. And on porches. And while talking some serious shit about shit. Can we just agree that summertime cocktail hour is the best?

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7. Going to Target almost daily

I’m not even going to explain this one. It speaks for itself.

6. Staying in OUR house

This summer was a first for us. Instead of bouncing around from house to house and city to city, we stayed put (sorta) in Bend. It was nice to do things like unpack our suitcases and properly stock the refrigerator with goodies, knowing we were going to be there for a while. We programmed Netflix channels on our TV. We met the neighbors and went to a few neighborhood gatherings. We even bought our own car. It was the lifestyle equivalent of slipping into something more comfortable. And it was awesome.

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5. Decorating our House

Okay, if I am totally honest, we didn’t do a whole lot of decorating. Our house still looks incredibly empty and there is nary a gallery wall or decorative throw pillow in sight. But…we did make a little progress. More than anything, we got to start imagining what we will do…someday.

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4. Being surrounded by beautiful nature

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but Beijing is not particularly beautiful.

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It is interesting. Yes. But beautiful? Not so much. Bend, on the other hand, is gorgeous. What it lacks in ethnic diversity (So.Many.White.People.), it makes up for in natural beauty. The fresh air, the numerous trees, the clean rivers and mountain vistas…we are supremely grateful to have it all right in our own backyard.

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3. Reuniting with friends

This summer we got to reconnect with so many of our friends from the various chapters of our lives.

First, my high school girlfriends and I gathered for a week of kid-less debauchery in NYC. So. Many. Laughs. These women know me so well. They know the almost 40-year-old me but they also know the me that was 15 and real awkward and had very, very big bangs. And they still love me. Spending time with them grounds me and fills my soul.

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Then, the Dubai crew came to crash in Bend. To say we had fun would be a massive understatement. These girls are my family. Accepting. Loving. Loyal. And, oh so hilarious! We did some back porch sitting that will go down in the record books for the greatest number of laughs per second. I will never look at another cake the same way again. Already looking forward to the next time we can all get together…this time with Stephanie too!

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I also randomly got to hug this lovely lady from back in my University of Tennessee days. She has not changed one bit. Still a beautiful, wonderful soul. I was reminded about how much I missed her (and so many others).

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Then there was the bi-annual China reunion. We are lucky that some of our friends from Beijing also own a house in Bend. Every Christmas and summer we look forward to spending time with the Bilans.

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Then the Minnesotans made a pit stop in Bend on the way to bag some massive peaks. Even though it was a quick visit, I loved hanging out with these folks. FYI: Minnesotans are just good people. Fact.

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Lastly, my dear friends from Asheville, Wes and Annie, stopped through Bend with their two kiddos. We played a rousing game of Guess My Swatch and I seriously don’t think I have ever had more fun. It was so fun catching up with them after all these years. Still love them with my whole heart.

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2. Spending time with family

There is never enough time to spend with family when we go home. But, that being said, we do feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to see both of our entire immediate families this summer. This RARELY happens so it was pretty special for us.

To start our summer off right, Brado’s parents came over for a visit in June. They helped us set up our house, watched the kiddos while we hunted for home items and helped us break in our back porch.

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In July, we trekked over to Emerald Island, NC to reunite with my whole family for a week. We played in the waves, bonded with cousins (19 of them in total!), and sucked in the salty air. It was bliss.

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Later that month, we spent a boozy weekend in Bend with Brado’s brother and girlfriend (now fiancé! Yahoooo!), Elizabeth. We hired a babysitter one night and just happened upon a festival downtown. My, my, my. The poor people who overheard our conversations that night…they may have been horrified or possibly entertained. Probably both.

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Suffice it to say that all of our visits with family and friends were wonderful. And all of these visits left us craving more.

1. Spending QT with our kiddos

As always, the very best thing about summer was spending some quality time with our kiddos. We watched Beau master his mountain bike and Finley brave the big slide at the pool. We watched them connect with old friends and try their hand at making new ones. We taught them about all things America, like the 4th of July and exposed them to the wonders of fast Internet and Netflix. We were able to be a family without interruption. And I will always be thankful for that.

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So while this summer was NOT productive in the blogging department, I would venture to say it was one of our favorite summers to date.

I know that revisiting summertime fun may seem too trivial to talk about right now. I know that it might be a little (or a lot) tough to feel anything other than disappointed, down-right angry and ready to fight. I get that. I feel that way too. But I am going to try my best to see the good. To be thankful. To raise loving, compassionate humans. I’m gonna try. I’m not gonna stop there, but that is where I am going to start.

Phew. Good. Glad that is done. Now I can start working on updating you on all things September.

Giving Thanks for Things that Suck

Giving Thanks for Things that Suck

How to Furnish Your Whole House: The Budget

How to Furnish Your Whole House: The Budget