While Dennis is away ... we play!

When Dennis travels, I plan enough activities to keep us busy, but not so much that we are exhausted.
Thus far it has proved successful!
And this time was no exception.
We still have eight days until our fearless leader returns, but we are doing well and enjoying our days.
Luke works full time and Caleb has his own teen activities, so most of our events consist of me, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie.
Things like ...
- taking an early morning or evening walk (have to get in those 10,000 steps!)
- beach days with friends
- serving
- Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie were whisked away for a playdate by a sweet friend (and I enjoyed 45       glorious minutes getting a pedicure)
- audio listening (we are currently enjoying At Home in Mitford - a favorite!)
- movie nights
- hanging out with grandparents
- swimming
- roller skating
FUN! FUN! For everyone!

We combined our daily walk with breakfast at Bruxie's!
We have lived one mile from this place for five years, and this was our first time enjoying it.
A fun and delicious way to end our two weeks "alone."

We've had the privilege of caring for our G3 once a week this summer! (during the school year we can only have them twice a month) Last week, Grace was having a particularly rough day, so I challenged Ellie to be her source of comfort and safety. Grace needed some quiet time away from all of the boys, so we set up a movie in Ellie's room for "girl time."
And this is how I found them when I opened the door to deliver a snack.
I love every.single.thing about this image!

When you live in the city, you must be intentional about finding NATURE.
And this park satisfied the need for huge trees, grass, and bodies of water! We arrived early in the morning to beat the heat of the day, walked three miles, and took 7,000 steps. Woohoo!
After such a delightful morning, we decided that we are going to take at least one daily walk at a regional park so we can enjoy nature every week. While walking the neighborhood on concrete is beneficial, walking in the shade of trees and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature feeds the soul!

One of the highlights was an overnight trip to visit my dear aunt in Fallbrook.
It was a hot day, so we loaded up the car and joined the other 1,000 people basking in the sun and feeling the splash of cold ocean water on their feet in Oceanside. It was LOVELY!
My aunt has always been a gracious, thoughtful, and warm hostess, and this visit was no exception. ♥

The littles boys and I had a beach date with a friend (Ellie was on her own playdate), so we arrived at the beach two hours early to eat breakfast and take our daily walk. It is so nice to be at the beach in the early morning! It is cool, quiet, and empty. And we had a great time - together.

My sister has graciously allowed us to use her pool this summer, any time we ask, and it has been a fun little retreat on the hottest of days for Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie. Today, I decided to join them, and we also coaxed my sister into the cool, refreshing water. What a great time we had together!
The water slide is always a hit, and I felt like a little girl sailing down the slick rock, laughing all the way.
(Yes, I am plugging my nose. I only do it when I jump in because I hate the feeling of having hose water sprayed up my nostrils. Call me a wimp if you will. My children (and sister) do!)

Our children have always crept into our bed early in the morning. Sometimes they are wide awake, sometimes they go right back to sleep. Regardless, our bed has never been empty in the morning hours.
When Dennis is gone, however, it's as though someone placed a homing beacon inside of our mattress which calls to our littles in the middle of the night, for they ALWAYS make themselves right at home in the wee hours of the morning. I never know when they arrive, but am fully aware of their arrival by the time the sun peeks through the windows because I wake up just as I am about to fall to the floor from being shoved to the edge of the mattress. And it makes me smile every time!

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