How was your summer is such basic, benign question.

This time for us, though, it’s loaded. How was my summer? Well, it was life.

It had some major highs and absolute lows. And since this blog is as much a journal of mine as a healthy living blog, I’m recording it here for posterity. No matter that unless you’re my mother, you’ll probably stop reading somewhere around now.

Hi, Mom! 👋

Bon Voyage in June

We went from Memorial Day weekend/Shavuot/8th grade graduation right into our   annual camping trip with not a moment to breathe. We basically had to have the entire camping trip planned and packed and all of the summer camp packing ready by Memorial Day. Phew! 😅

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High school, here she comes!

We drove west to South Dakota for this year’s camping trip all in one crazy long day. Three cheers for iPads! Read more on that trip itinerary here.

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Happy Father’s Day to the captain of our ship.

From there, we had two days to get our two middle kids off to summer camp.

Summer fun + growth in July

July was the month we managed to snag a SUP from Play It Again Sports, which pretty much makes us the envy of, well, everyone who wants a SUP. Unlike kayaks (which we already had), even inflatable SUPs are really expensive. With visions of biking to the beach with a SUP on my Yuba dancing in my head, we jumped on the chance to buy the rare used one we found.

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Fear not, I didn’t end up attempting to bike this to the beach, but I made it around the block.

The SUP provided hours of joy since then. And if you think I’m crazy for letting my 8-year-old loose on Lake Michigan with a SUP, well, you’re correct. But in my defense, he’s the best paddler in the family.

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Lakeside life

July was also the month we sent our oldest off to Israel for the first time. It was the summer of a lifetime opportunity we never could have imagined for her, but somehow it did. She really made it happen, thanks to some begging, some babysitting hustling (she’s still available, for the record!) and some support from NCSY. And we couldn’t be more grateful.

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Home.

Before takeoff, she managed to squeeze in a 1st degree black belt test. This was one of her proudest days and also one of her most challenging. Not because of test (although it was pretty much an insane series of tasks), but because it also meant goodbye to her beloved Master Sunny. News had just started to spread that her coach would be leaving town, and this test was the end of an era for her. She finished with pride and tears.

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Sometime, life sucks. And then you grow from it. Better to learn that now.

July brought biking adventures, a 12-year-old birthday at camp, garden goodness and days at the pool.

 

Bitter sweet August

August started out with a memorable trip to our happy place, Door County, Wisconsin. We hit all our favorite spots and spent time watching sunsets, sitting by the fire and playing in nature.

 

And then August became a series of goodbyes. First to our dear friends. You know those once-in-a-lifetime friendships where every member of your family matches up with a friend in their family? This was that and so much more.

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Friendships last, but just aren’t the same from a distance.

And then we said goodbye to our beloved Gramps. The sudden loss of my husband’s father still feels new and raw enough that I haven’t fully internalized it. But what I gathered from reflecting on his life is how much he influenced ours. His love of nature, biking, exercise, personal growth, self improvement, learning and intellectual curiosity shaped first my husband and then all of us.

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And while so much of his days were spent advancing his esteemed career as an attorney, what matters now are the lessons he shared, the lives he touched and the character traits he modeled.

Most of my summer, like life, was spent getting through the myriad tasks of daily living  – including too many hours sitting at a computer working. But all the moments I squeezed in between are what was most memorable.

How was my summer? My summer was life.

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