Snapshots of Summer

posted by Andrea | 08/26/2016

summer 2016

You may have noticed that I only wrote one Peek Into Our Week post over the entire summer… and that’s because the days and weeks of our summer basically all blurred together as a week consisting of “6 Saturdays and a Sunday” as Dave and I often joked.

Our slow and full summer days were filled with fun, but every single day, except Sunday, basically felt like a Saturday due to Dave being home all day and the fact that we really didn’t have any specific plans on any specific day at any point during the summer.

A few weeks into the summer, Nora stopped asking what day it was and instead started asking, “Is today Sunday or not Sunday?” If not, she knew the basic routine for the day would be playing outside, having fun with neighborhood kids, and hauling every single toy, scooter, bike, car, etc. out into the backyard EVERY day!

Not too shabby! 

But as we know, “all good things must come to an end”… and summer is just about at its end in the Dekker house. Dave has been in and out of school for over a week now, and his first official day of school is next week.

I know I’ll miss the lazy days of summer and having Dave home all day; but I’m excited to get back into more of a routine, I’m excited for Nora to start preschool, and I’m excited to get involved with a few new groups and activities now that the kids are a bit older.

As I thought about how I wanted to close out the summer on my blog, I realized there were SOOOOOO many photos I’d love to share. I could have easily shared well over 500 summer snapshots — but I’ll be considerate of your time and only share about 50 or so 🙂

I hope you enjoy a few “snapshots” of our summer!

snapshots ofsummer

JUNE:

We started out the summer hosting Dave’s staff party, a huge friend’s gathering, several family BBQ dinners, neighborhood play dates, celebrating my 31st birthday, and more.

After the initial rush of the first 2 weeks of summer passed, we spent the remainder of the month (and really the remainder of the entire summer) lounging around at home, playing in the backyard, splashing in the kiddie pool, visiting local parks, playing with neighbors, and having fun with grandparents.

Nora went to a free story hour program at the library, Simon attended his speech therapy program, James started walking, and Dave and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary.

We did lots of yard work, got the vegetable garden up and running, had a fun weekend “staycation” with Dave’s entire family, and Nora and I started reading the American Girl books. We read our way through all the Felicity and Kirsten books and we just finished Samantha this past week. I secretly think I like reading them even more than she does!

Nora and Simon got free bowling all summer long from a summer bowling program at our local bowling alley (which just so happens to be biking distance from our house) and our local mall had free carousel rides every Tuesday in the summer! We went bowling 4 times and to the mall 5 or 6 times — which is probably more than I’ve been to the mall in the past 2 years combined!

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JULY:

We enjoyed many Fourth of July festivities, we celebrated James’ first birthday, I took a 2-week blogging break, we rearranged all 4 of our bedrooms, and did a once-over purge of the entire house (wow, did that feel good!)

Nora learned how to ride a bike withOUT training wheels, Simon learned how to blow bubbles, and James discovered that he REALLY loves going for bike rides (check out our newest way to bike with 3 kids below!)

AUGUST:

August has been SOOOOO hot and humid — we basically were either inside in the air conditioning or outside in some type of water. We played in the kiddie pool, went in the sprinklers, visited a couple local splash pads, and went to my aunt’s big underground pool a couple of times. We also spent a fun morning at our the county fair (Nora and Simon had a BLAST on the rides).

Nora and Simon took a week of swimming lessons at our neighbor’s cousin’s pool. It was super relaxed and slow-paced, but by the end of the week, Nora was finally willing to get her face wet and actually started swimming a little on her own.

I spent quite a bit of time picking vegetables, washing them, and either cooking, freezing, or preserving them. We also gave a bunch of veggies away to family and friends.

Nora finally mastered doing flips on our swingset rings (her one personal goal for the summer!), Simon basically lived in the kiddie pool, and James continued to climb on EVERYTHING!

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We had such a fantastic summer vacation. We said ‘no’ to a lot of things, activities, people, and events to be able to enjoy such a slow and full summer at home — and I don’t think we’ll ever regret that.

As I was scrolling through the hundreds of pictures I took over the summer, I kept coming back to the 2 photos below.

In some weird way, I feel like these 2 photos sum-up our summer of fun at home…

Every night after the kids went to bed, Dave and I went back outside to pick up the kiddie pool, the sand toys, the bikes, trikes, scooters, cars, and strollers, the ridiculous number of kids toys, and the rows of towels and suits hanging out to dry.

Every night I thought “we have SO much stuff” but at the same time, I know how much our kids (and neighbor kids and friends) used and enjoyed all our second-hand outside toys and games day after day.

The outside toys were well-loved all summer long because we had the luxury of being home every day this summer — that is not something I take for granted.  I hope we will enjoy playing with them for many years to come.

Here’s to another fabulous school year for Dave (and for Nora)!

Until next summer, my friends…

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28 comments

  1. Emily

    08/29/2016

    Hello Andrea!! Love all the summer pictures! Sounds like your family really embraced the slow down, take it easy summer and it shows in the great pictures. 🙂 Is that the Kent County youth fair in Lowell?? My parents have a cottage on Murray Lake in Lowell and we love that fair. We didn’t make it up there this year but it’s always fun when we do. We just had our first day of homeschool today and it feels so good to be back into a regular routine. We were all ready for it! Looking forward to a beautiful west Michigan fall!

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    Andrea Reply:

    No Emily, it’s not the Kent County fair — we’re in Ottawa County 🙂

    Happy first day of school for you!

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  2. Lee cockrum

    08/27/2016

    Love the photos!! Her star braids are fabulous!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks! She LOVED the star braid!

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  3. Jane

    08/26/2016

    Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to settling into fall and getting back to a schedule. How different the back corner of your yard looks, nice and open 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, the back corner of our yard is actually pretty “junky” looking right now. We had intentions of planting some ornamental pear trees back there this year, but the 2 landscaping places we contacted both flaked out on us so it never happened. Eventually, we will have more landscaping back there and it will look a lot nicer — but for now, the kids are enjoying the extra space to run around and play with all their kiddie toys!

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  4. Debbie

    08/26/2016

    Sounds like a full summer of fun and down time. When Dave uses the bike to drive the kids around do you go with them on another bike or you stay behind and enjoy some “me” time? I must say that everyone looks great in these pictures. You look great with your short blonde hair, slim figure for a mom of 3, and sun kissed face! I like hearing how you had a slow summer but still accomplished some goals.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Debbie, We usually all bike together as a family — so one of us will pull Nora on the “tag-along bike and the other will pull Simon and James in the trailer. Only once in a great while will one of us take all 3 of them around this way!
    And thanks for your kind words — I’m enjoying the blonder hair this summer 🙂

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  5. Maria

    08/26/2016

    Looks like you guys had an awesome summer! Beautiful family and beautiful home pics! Thanks for sharing.

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    Andrea Reply:

    It was a great summer! I’m sad it’s over, but excited for all the new and fun things coming this school year!

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  6. Anne

    08/26/2016

    Your family is adorable. Love reading about your fun summer!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Anne 🙂

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  7. Janice

    08/26/2016

    You are SO fun. Dave too.

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  8. Jen T

    08/26/2016

    Great pics…almost made me wish my kids were little again 🙂

    Congrats to Nora on learning to ride a two-wheeler…both my kids were older when they learned (and my husband is a cycling coach!). Love her bruised legs…a sign of an awesome, kid-friendly summer!

    Are these all phone pics, or camera? Filtered or non? They are great pics!

    Good luck with the transition back to fall schedules. Both my kids leave for boarding school next weekend…it’s going to be super quiet around here.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen — and yes, all the pictures were on my iPhone — we don’t even have any other camera at all. I don’t use an app or a filter, just the camera that comes with the phone. I am VERY pleased with the quality of pictures it takes.

    Enjoy your quiet house! I can’t even imagine what that would be like 🙂

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  9. Bonnie'sMama

    08/26/2016

    This makes me want to find my old copies of the Samantha and Molly books and start reading them to my little girl who is almost 3. They’re about the right length for a read-aloud chapter book for her. I loved those books as a young girl and still think the original 3-5 American Girls were the best.

    Kudos to you and Dave for spending so much time just being with your children. In the daily struggle to just get the basics done, it’s hard for me to remember that being with them, playing with them, baking with them, reading to them–that’s what actually matters to my children. They just want to be with me.

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    Andrea Reply:

    We are just LOVING the American Girl books. I even found some DVD’s, cookbooks, craft books, and books on tape so she can listen to the stories (and watch the DVD’s) after we read them. It’s great!

    Also, just to “keep it real” I hope you realize how much easier it is to spend quality time with kids when there are more than one adult around. I NEVER could have done any of this if Dave was working all summer. We had a good routine where he would take all 3 kids outside or upstairs to play for a bit after breakfast so I could have some “alone time” to work or do whatever. Then I would take all 3 kids after nap time so he could have some alone time. Also, we took turns entertaining Nora and doing fun things with her when the boys were napping. Without that alone time to recharge, I never could have invested as much time into my kids the entire summer!

    Even if your kids “just want to be with you” as you mentioned, sometimes YOU just need to be alone! Don’t ever feel bad about that 🙂

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    Tracey Reply:

    Thank you for this! My two are older (15 and 13) but I always felt torn between chores and playing with them. I tried to balance both, but it seemed one or the other would suffer, let alone having “me” time, which is also SO important!

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  10. Ann

    08/26/2016

    Oh! I wish I had known about the free carousel rides. We’ve never been on it because I just don’t spend money that way but I could have granted a boy’s wish on a Tuesday!

    Love your bike train. Now you just need Dave’s bike to be a tandem and you will be good to go.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know! I found out about it last year at the very end of the summer — after telling Nora “no” 300 times when she’d ask to go to the mall the ride the carousel. Now, if I ever go to the mall again before next summer, both she and Simon will be begging for rides. Good thing I almost never go to the mall!

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  11. Edie

    08/26/2016

    What a wonderful summer! Your yard looks like a children’s wonderland!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — we have talked about the fact that our yard (and our garage and our house) is getting “taken over” by kid’s things… but we have the space to store them and we use them daily. I purge items regularly, but then we find something at a thrift store for a dollar or we are given something from a neighbor — so it seems like we’re always getting more stuff too!

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    Edie Reply:

    Haha! I meant it in the best way possible! Even my slighly older kids, 6 and 8, would be in awe of the beautiful expanse of grass, lovely shade trees, and all the fun toys! We are still in the new construction stage so our yard is dirt and weeds. Although we’re surrounded by forest, we have no trees near the house to provide shade. So your place looks like a beautiful oasis!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I knew your comment was meant in a nice way! We have storage places for all our things… so I’m OK with ALLLLL the kids’ things (at least for now!)

    Good luck with your house — hope it’s finished soon!

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  12. JoAnn C.

    08/26/2016

    What a great post. As always, thank you for sharing.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks… and you’re welcome JoAnn!

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  13. Paulette

    08/26/2016

    Can’t get over how quickly the children are growing(!) and how many wonderful photos chronicle your summer. So happy for your family!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Paulette! We had LOTS of good pictures this summer!

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