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We’re back from our first mini family camping trip and I’d put it down as a success.  Sure we had our share of bugs, port a potties, attitudes, and came home looking rough and sunburnt.  But.. we also had time to just relax by this beautiful lake that I love.  We went up the shore with good friends and their two munchkins.  Which made for mini vans, five kids eight and under, and lots of food.  Some would question calling this relaxing.  I know. But then you should meet our friends the Freys!  They are easy.  We regularly share life, kiddos, and dogs.. so relaxing even in the crazy feels natural.  The morning we left the campsite Jameson told me that he had to pinch himself during a couple parts of our trip just to see if he was dreaming.  Yep- a success.

I hadn’t been camping since Ry and I were newlyweds (and that was only my second time!) So, I feel like a stronger woman saying I can sleep on the hard ground and pack no makeup or hair products for three days.  Baby steps to being more adventurous in the second half of my thirties!

Other fun things happening this week!

-I ordered each of the kids a new Thermos for their lunch boxes in lime, violet, and teal.  We’ve gotten these before and love them.  They keep cold things cold, hot things hot, and don’t spill.  What else could you ask for?  I also started looking up some new lunch packing inspiration.  These four will definitely be repeated for the first month.

-We planned ahead and had our dining room and entry floors refinished while we were away camping and they turned out beautifully!  Now you open our front door to this perfect circle of matching hardwood.  Amazing.  Today I spent time putting everything back in it’s place feeling so grateful for this house.. for how it’s served us so far and the many dreams we still hope to have here!

-I’m in love with this rug I found on super clearance this week.  I think Ry would veto due to the volume of floral.  Ha!  But I can totally picture it in our dining room (with the dark navy walls).  Wouldn’t it make the winter so much happier?  Please vote “yes”.

-Now that we’re back from camping I’m on the front porch painting the tongue in groove for our kitchen ceiling again.  I need this project to be wrapped up so I can focus on something new!  Jameson is begging me to open that gallon of blue paint I already have picked out for his bigger boy room.  The kid is obsessed with football right now.. so this print will probably work its way into the plan.

We have family coming into town for the holiday weekend ahead and I cannot wait! Menu planning will commence tomorrow night.  And if Ry is doing the cooking and I’m doing desserts- it will be a holiday indeed!

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School is starting soon.  Reality.  And that’s a good thing, because I’m craving a new sort of order.. moments in a quieter house.  Stillness.

As of this weekend our school shopping is about done.  We have very few traditions over here.. but one fun tradition is back to school shopping.  We do it one-on-one with our kids.  We take the school supply list, they get to pick out a new school outfit, and then their pick of eating out with us – and it’s done with just dad or mom.  My heart melts every time. Friday night the boys were out eating buffalo wings and came home with bags full of supplies.  This afternoon it was the girls!  Lucia just shines with your full attention.  She is full of life and is so excited about every detail.  If only there was a way to tap into the energy of our Lucia Mae.  I was pretty excited too about her new lunchbox . Honestly cute.

And since summer days are almost over, we’re packing up for our family camping trip this week.  Still mostly excited about the adventure!  I will happily eat my share of s’mores and share a tent with Mr. Underwood.  And our children.

What else this week?

-Our schedule with daily chores (+the weekly allowance) has worked so great for the summer.  I’m contemplating how to tweak it for fall and busier/tired kids.  Any tips to share?

-After quite a few friends telling me about it (for a long time), I finally sat down and watched my first episode(s) of Fixer Upper this week on Netflix.  Does anyone else cry at the end when the family comes home to their new house?  Gosh!  It’s a mix of high emotion and initiative to get my butt off the couch and start painting.  Anything.  Like that stack of tongue and groove stacked on our front porch.  It’s coming along.  Just one of those projects that’s not glamorous or fun.  Blah.  But it will get done, and then comes a new ceiling and LIGHTS.  And lights are glamorous.  Especially this one for above our kitchen sink.  Which will tie beautifully with our dining room.

-We love fresh herbs around here.  I’m thinking of moving them indoors for the season ahead.  Maybe something like this.

-I worked out twice this week and hated every minute of it.  Pretty sure this tank was made for me.  I appreciate honesty.

Thanks for sharing this space, friends!  Hope your weekend was grand!

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IMG_3813I couldn’t imagine a world of unconditional love or grace, where people simply enter into rooms because the door is always open.  The world that made sense to me was a world of earning and proving. . and so I’ve been frantically trying to prove my worth.  – Shauna Niequist 

My copy of Shauna Niequist’s latest book arrived this week and I’ve been soaking up the pages.  I love her writing and every time it speaks so strongly to me!  When I read the quote above i said “YES”.  I understand.  I long to experience and create a place of unconditional love and grace.  I want our home to always be an open door.  I never want our kids to feel the need to prove.  Anything.  I want our kids to experience the opposite of my experiences because much of my life has been frantic.  I’ve tried to prove or earn my worth time and time again.  I’m anxious to keep reading, process thoughts with Ry, and then just to take some time to be still – just the opposite of frantic – as we head into September.

Ryan took the older two kids camping this past week and looking through their pictures I’m feeling pretty darn excited about our first family camping trip (with great friends) later this month.  I’m hopeful this could be a back to school family tradition every year.  But given our four-year-old is terrified of bugs and has strong feelings.  We’ll see.  One year at a time.

Other favorite things this week:

-I made this skillet dinner last night.  Amazing flavor.

-I have a thing for random white mugs.  I could classify this one as a “need”, right?

-We have a nice big porch on the front of our home which regularly serves as extra storage.  Tonight- tonight it smells of lumber.  It smells AMAZING.   Ry and one of his friends “handy Andy” are working on our kitchen ceiling.  Three years later and we’re breaking up with the kitchen ceiling tile.  Seriously- who puts ceiling tile in the kitchen? We’re (meaning the guys are) putting tongue and groove in.  Picture something like this. Cannot wait!

-I ordered a new rolling hamper this week which may change my life.  We have two laundry chutes here which we love.  But the clothes land in the basement about 30 feet from our washing machine.  So for years now I’ve drug or carried our tall old wicker hamper to the washer.  No more.  The new baby can move and my back says “thank you”.

Cheers to the weekend.  I hope you are drinking good coffee and slowing things down. Mondays come fast enough.

 

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This week Tuesday we celebrate 13 years as a team.  And that’s no small thing.  Relationships are hard.  The struggle to live life with someone quite different than yourself, to love them when they’re selfish, to forgive them when they hurt you the deepest, to support their dreams and make their dreams part of your own.  This stuff doesn’t come naturally.  Some days feel like a ton more work than others, yes?  And other days are better than the sweetest dreams I had as a much younger gal who fell hard for a skinny happy boy named Ryan Underwood. I love this man.  He is amazingly talented and wise on the inside.  And outside?  He’s smoking hot.

-One more month and the fall schedule starts here in Duluth.  I’m starting to think about it, but I don’t want to put school supplies in the shopping cart just yet.   So far Colette picked out a new backpack for preschool.  Now she tells me she “needs” to bring it along on all outings, even if it’s empty.  We’re soaking up as many hours as we can before school days.  Yesterday included a picnic lunch, thrifting as a family (a first), baseball, and more walking after dinner.  Our kids are tan and popsicle sticks are littered through our yard. It’s been a good summer.

-I’ve been daydreaming of these pillows on our bed.  A great price and a fun way to switch things up!

-Since having my baby sister live with us (a couple years back already), I’ve slowly been learning about makeup products and application.  Thanks, Debs!  This eyebrow pencil is now a staple on my very minimal make-up look.  I thank my dad for these eyebrows.  Anyone have a favorite lipgloss you can tell me about?

-We like Kind bars around here.  These new ones at Target are super good.  Add them to the back to school list.

This song is on repeat here.  Fitting for our anniversary week.

*Photo credit to our favorite Kiley Marissa Photography.