A Little Summer Break

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We just returned home from a little holiday with Trent’s family in Idaho. I haven’t spent much time in that part of the country, but the few times I have, I’ve found it to be a magical place. Maybe it’s because I live in a humid, flat, suburban sprawl, but looking around at mountains, rivers and forests is so peaceful. We drove through Yellowstone and spent some time in Big Sky, Montana as well. On our way to the airport I realized for the first time in ages, I forgot my big DSLR camera at home! At first I was disappointed, but then I realized how nice it would be to travel lightly for once. Are my images as crisp or technically good as I’d like? Nope. But they are wonderful just the same. And I was able to experience all these moments as they happened, instead of through a viewfinder. Good stuff.

Happy 4th of July from Big Sky, Montana! #4thofjuly #family #fun #montana #bigsky #love #mountains #beauty

Lucy's first hot springs...she approves! #summer #vacation #idaho #heisehotsprings #fun #happy #hotsprings

His first time climbing! So proud of this little man! #rockclimbing #bigsky #montana

Bear World comes complete with a kiddie carnival. Score number 2! #whee #bearworld #idaho #carnival

This hedgehog is giving me the stink eye... #hedgehog #zoo #idaho #idahofalls

Bear World!!!! #score #christmascard2014 #growl #bearfamily #idaho

Bye bye, #idaho! #cousins #love #buddies #tateandbrooklyn #cute #family

This will be my last post for a while, as I’m taking my annual Digital Sabbatical for the rest of the summer. Summer is so fun for our little family, and I want to make sure I spend as much time as possible really living it. Sort of like leaving the DSLR camera at home, except this time it’s on purpose! This blog turned 10 years old this year, which is both parts amazing and unbelievable! But in order to keep it going, I need some time to refuel and make sure I’m taking in all that real life has to offer. There is a blogger I love and admire who hasn’t posted in months, and when a reader asked her about it, she said while she misses her blog, she finds she has a much more fulfilling real life when she’s not worrying about blogging all the time. I realize this blog is a part of me, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop posting completely, but a little summer break is definitely needed! Happy summer-ing, everyone!

(P.S. I’ll still be updating the Crazybananas Facebook and Twitter here and there, so follow on those if you’d like to keep up with our summer happenings. And of course, I’m sure I’ll still be Instagramming up a storm, so follow me over there for some images of our fun.)

Dang, This Just Got Real

Oh damn, this just got real. #mommobile #minivan #toyota #sienna #motherhood #suburbia

A few days ago, I became the proud owner of one minivan. Now, I should point out, this is not a huge deal for me. There are many moms and dads I know that have BIG issues with driving a minivan. And I get it, I really do, but though I have many (MANY!) hangups in my life, driving a minivan was never one of them. I am silly excited for this grown up car. Yesterday I drove the kids to the pool and they sat far enough away from each other they literally couldn’t fight! When we got there they both hopped out of their seats and hit the buttons to open their sliding doors while we all yelled, “GO GO GADGET-DOORS!” Turns out geekdom is actually a genetic trait, lucky kids.

I think much of this comes from being a youngish mom (especially early on, not so much now!), and for a long time feeling like I didn’t quite fit in. Now, there is no denying it, I’m a mom…driving a minivan. A carpool mom. A soccer mom. All that jazz. It actually feels pretty dang good.

Now…what to name the minivan? Current ideas are the batmobile, the mom-mobile, gadget-van and the black stallion. Seriously, geekdom is definitely genetic. And awesome.

Schoolhouse Dance Camp!

When we headed off to Western Kansas a few weeks back, we were not only excited to spend time with family, but Lucy got to attend dance camp! Her sweet Aunt Ashley has her own dance school, and decided to offer a week-long camp this summer for the first time. Lulu was so excited! She had fun, made lots of new friends, and got to perform the showcase at the end in a shiny, gold leotard. Pretty much the best!

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For the finale, Ashley invited all the little brothers and sisters up on stage to dance along, and you know Tate and his cousin Brooklyn were ready!

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Thanks for such a fun week, Aunt Ashley! You can follow Schoolhouse Dance on Facebook right here.

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The Bluffs at Gardners Grove

One of my favorite parts of road-tripping across Kansas was watching the scenery around me. Yes, of course, Kansas can be boring. But just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’ll come across something surprising. For me, that something was Gardners Grove.

This little gem was in the middle of a pasture, and we had to drive a Jeep through a few wheat fields to get there. Apparently this little grove of cottonwood trees and the bluffs that tower over them were sacred for the Native Americans in the area. They’d run the bison right off the edge of the bluffs in order to kill them for their meat and fur, and to this day you can still find bison skulls there. There are also the elusive shark teeth, which we searched for, but never found. We did come home with a few fossils and some awesome rocks and crystals. The kids had so much fun, we decided to go back with Trent when he got into town. He and Lucy spent ages scouring the bluffs for fossils and other treasures. Next time I’ll bring my big camera, but this time around, I managed to get a few shots with the iPhone, which was much easier to carry on the big hike.

Hiking the bluffs today...pretty incredible. Kansas is beautiful! #kansas #bluffs #grove #gove #nature #rock #sky #plains #beauty #tate #climb

More from the bluffs...like whoa. That's Lucy, Ash and Ace in the distance. #gove #grove #bluffs #kansas #hiking #climb #beauty #nature #horizon

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Had to take dad to the bluffs! He was as amazed as we were. Came home with a bunch of new fossils and lots of good memories ❤️ #kansas #gove #gardnersgrove #bluffs #nature #cliff #climb #fun

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Old Friends and New Places

When one returns from 13 days either in a car with two small humans or bunking at someone else’s home, one has a few choices.

1. Throw the entire contents of one’s suitcase into the washing machine and pass out
2. Make everyone go to bed early so you can finally get a moment alone
3. Revel in how easy it is to sleep in one’s own bed WITHOUT a three-year-old’s feet in your face
4. Attempt to write a blog post about one’s trip

We just returned to Kansas City after about two weeks of driving across our beautiful state of Kansas. I am always amazed when Kansas is described as boring, because I honestly believe it’s one of the most beautiful and diverse places around. We spent a few days in my hometown in the Flint Hills, then headed west, where the trees are scarce and the sky seems like it’s never going to end. Our first stop was in Hays, Kansas, where a great friend of mine from high school lives with her sweet family. There is something really special about watching your kids become friends with children of your own childhood friends. Watching our silly boys make trouble or seeing our girls share a private joke, it makes me wistful for the days when my friends were my whole world. It’s nice to know that even after all these years, grown-up responsibilities and professional living, we can still get together and giggle until our bellies hurt. We visited the Natural History Museum, spotted some bison, ate some great food, attended a neighbor’s surprise birthday party, and even gave Tate a little buzzcut on the front porch. Such a fun time, and I’m feeling especially grateful for old friends these days!

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Cruisin' in Hays, KS, USA...

The Natural History Museum with @hjbieker and family! So fun, and only a tiny bit scary  #museum #hays #kansas #history #fossil #fun #friends

Silly boys! So grateful to watch my kids become friends with my best friends' kids! #365grateful #silly #boys #goof #love

I am mostly posting this because a lifeguard yelled "No photos!" when she saw me taking it and I think that's straight up dumb. Rebel without a cause over here ✌️ #summer #pool #rebel #lazyriver #fun #friends #cantkeepmedown

The magic of @hjbieker is she's able to convince Tate, who screams in terror at the thought of a haircut, to shave his head on the front porch. Magic, I tell you!!! #haircut #friends #yay

I’ll be blogging more about the rest of our trip for the next few days. Next up, what happens when two city kids see a teeter-totter for the first time? Pandemonium.

Top photo taken with the Canon 60D, all other photos taken by my iPhone 4s, edited in Afterlight

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