Excuse me while I pinch myself. The last weekend of July? Really? This time of year is emotionally confusing for me. I am thrilled that my very favorite season...filled with colored leaves, crisp, cool days, mums, pumpkins, comfy sweaters and cozy nights...is right around the corner. Yet I am also filled with an odd sense of sadness as I watch yet another season...one filled with long, lazy days, green trees, blue skies, drippy ice creams cones and long warm nights...come to a close. I can't explain it, other than to say it is as if another season of my life has passed. And I suppose it has. : ) Here is a peek at the last week of July in our summer home.
My Mocha found every spot of sunlight and curled up randomly throughout the day. : )
Remember a few summers ago when our friend Justin came and cooked chicken for us?
Well, he did it again!
He and his sweet girlfriend Gina came out and hooked up this contraption.
They cooked the chicken all afternoon, and it was amazing!
He made potatoes and a yummy salad too.
I peeled and boiled corn.
Go me. : )
And Steve took the older kids to a Pirate game this week...
It was a first for Nicolas, and he loved it!
Steve sent me this picture, and for a moment I swear I wasn't sure who it was!
When did my little Rhett grow into a young man?!
Summer evening sunsets are among my favorite things ever.
This one is for my fellow Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise fans. Ok, so imagine you are walking through an airport at the exact right moment. The moment when, out of the corner of your eye, you recognize someone that seems out of place. But familiar. Rather than run up to said person, gushing and stammering, you casually call out his name. You know. As if you went to high school together, maybe even the prom. He turns, expecting to see someone he recognizes, as opposed to a slightly disheveled stranger who has not yet had the chance to duck into a restroom and freshen up after a four and a half hour flight. Said person is generous and friendly and kind. And he quickly recovers from the shock and engages in conversation with the tired looking lady while her husband fumbles with her phone in search of the camera. He smiles and thanks you for being a fan. And then strolls away, all alone, with a back pack on his back. You would probably think it never happened, right? Yet...the proof exists. In a rather quickly taken iPhone picture in which he looks even more amazing than on television, and you look...well...like you just got off a looong plane ride. See picture below...
I met Chris Harrison!
And he was so nice, so real, so normal.
I would have loved to sit and chat with him about some of Jo Jo's choices...
but I'm sure he had somewhere to be.
I was struck by his normalcy.
Don't people like him have like...people?
He was just walking through the airport like the rest of us.
Maybe that's why he is so relatable.
He spent a few minutes with us before strolling off.
I was so thankful.
But man...I could have questioned him for hours!!!!
So Steve and I headed out to one of our favorite places...Las Vegas...for a special anniversary getaway. While Steve has been there on business several times recently, I had not been for nineteen years! We used to visit almost every year before we began our family, and always enjoyed the excitement, elegance, food, and fun of that remarkable city. I know, right? Me. Las Vegas. Who knew? In any case, our littles...not so little anymore...encouraged us to go and enjoy ourselves. And that is exactly what we did.
All ready to go...
Saying goodbye again with a quick selfie when we were at the end of our road. : )
Selfie for the kids on our way to the hotel.
Just the two of us meant a lot of selfies.
Steve was thrilled. ; )
Steve chose The Venetian Resort.
And it was stunning.
From the lobby...
Through the shops...
And even past the gondolas that floated right through the center of the square...
The authentic feel of Venice was everywhere.
At least as I imagine it is.
You know, since I've never been there. : )
But enough about that.
On to what's more important...
A gal has to have her naps, you know. : )
All the rooms at The Venetian and The Palazzo are suites.
And that was nice. : )
We enjoyed a late dinner the first night.
And notice the black and white filter?
It does wonders for the "I'm super tired from being on a plane all afternoon, but am too lazy to freshen up and change" photos.
Breakfasts at hotels are nice...
Especially when they have The. Best. Hot. Chocolate. Ever.
And that's my cranberry juice there too. : )
But most mornings my sweet hubby brought breakfast back to the room for me.
After a few rounds of gambling, of course. : )
We spent some days at the pool...
And others walking through amazing shopping centers in the midst of beautiful hotels...
Where...if you looked hard enough...you could find a pretty normal spot for lunch. : )
Evenings found us dressed up and heading out to see amazing shows...
like ONE, a tribute show featuring Michael Jackson's hit songs with amazing dancers.
At one point, a hologram of Michael himself appeared and danced an entire song.
Another night. Another selfie. I mean...show.
This was incredible.
His magic is...well...magical.
But honestly, I was most struck by his demeanor.
He is actually very kind, sincere, funny, and generous.
But still. Crazy good!
(No photos allowed, so I got this from his website.)
Our last night, we had dinner at a beautiful restaurant right in our hotel.
We ate. And talked and...
Did I mention we ate?
It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful trip...
As were the sweet little bags filled with delicious chocolates waiting for us before bed.
Which...as any mother will tell you...went right inside her purse to be taken home and passed out to her children.
Our last morning came quickly...
And although we were sad to see our special trip come to an end...
As we flew through the beautiful skies back to the place we belonged, we were happy.
Happy that God blessed us with twenty-five beautiful years together, four amazing children, a cozy place we call Home, and two cute- as- can -be pups.
Awaiting us at home?
This precious sight.
My children, along with Nicolas, cleaned our house from top to bottom.
They dusted, scrubbed, did laundry, and even Swiffered floors.
All so we could come home to a clean house.
My heart was so full at that moment.
And I realized...They could do it.
They could survive without me.
At first I felt sad...
But then, I thought of something the lovely manicurist said to me as we chatted.
She told me that I had done that.
I had raised them to be responsible enough to be left alone.
And I should be happy.
So there you have it.
The last of our anniversary.
But if I could add one more thing...
Something that was not easy for me to do.
Not because I didn't want to spend time alone with my husband,
but because for so long, my place has been here.
In my home.
Nurturing, teaching, raising, and loving on littles.
Suddenly, those littles were old enough to be alone for a few days.
And I realized...with some wise words from my dear mother...
that something else needed nurturing.
Something that perhaps I took for granted.
I realized how important it is to keep connected with Steve.
As a person, As a friend.
Not only as "Daddy".
We spent those days as we had all those years before...
talking and laughing and teasing and napping.
And it was good.
And I realized that one of my biggest fears...
the day my home is empty of little ones...
is nothing to fear at all.
Because it will be me and Steve.
Just as it was at the very beginning.
Because we will have the peace of knowing we raised our children together.
Steve and I are on our way home from a little anniversary getaway today, so this Random Photo post is a bit abbreviated. However, in the interest of continuity here are a few photos from the week that was in our country home...
These two are having a wonderful summer together!
They spend a lot of time with the family...cooking, watching movies, and even playing Foursquare outside. But they also enjoy getting dressed up and going out on the town. : )
This is a quick phone shot of my dresser. Madison dried and sprayed a few of my 25th Anniversary roses and bought me a sweet vase to display them too. I am blessed to have that beautiful young lady as my daughter and my friend.
Rhett invited Flynn to the movies this week. They both gave The Secret Life of Pets a
big Thumbs Up. : )
Summer sweet berries...
And summer evening skies.
Two things I love about this fleeting season.
And My Mocha!
She turned one this week!
We celebrated her with her very own teaspoon of vanilla ice cream. : )
And a brand new antler chew toy.
I am enjoying this beautiful summer...but I am most definitely doing this as well. : )
Have a wonderful, cozy weekend!
And don't forget!
If you are so inclined...
Christmas in July is Monday.
Bake some cookies, wrap a few small gifts, and pop in a Christmas movie.