Adventures in Summerland

The sweat of summer feels like it has just begun, but in fact, summer is dwindling down to the end quicker than I can wipe it from my brow. Tomorrow marks the first day I am back at school. Excited to meet my next set of students, but sad to leave the best part of the year, when I can spend so much of my time with my babies. We didn’t go anywhere super special, but we still had the best time. Love that I can have the best of both worlds.

Here’s the snapshot (or a LOT of snapshots) of our summer break!

Evie and swimming lessons! It went SO much better than last year. We still have such a long ways to go (for those who swam with us this summer, you know what I’m sayin’), but I am glad to see progress!

We will surely miss our Kylie Bowling! Olan got to get in on the action this summer! Thank you Kylie for your generous time in such a whirlwind of a summer for you.

Olan’s first bit of ornery shining through. My insta caption: “Is this how they make Season-All?” 😉

Water games and lemonade popsicles with friends!

Three carseats in the CR-V! It’s a miracle! Heading to Lindsborg pool!

One of my favorite things about my summer break was interviewing my grandma. So many neat stories and things I never knew about her. Such a special time! Love you Grandma! Other grandparents – you’re next! 🙂

Blacksmith with some new friends this summer – Kalyn and Eva joined up with our Grow Group for the summer while on break from college. SO cool to be part of your journey, ladies!

Grandma and Grandpa’s new sand box. These kids love sand. It was a shame that it got washed away by the flood a few weeks from when this picture was taken. 😦 See photo below.

The Henrys had so much water. Wowza. Glad everyone was safe, and things are looking back to normal now! What a summer to remember.

Olie and Daddy in the combine. Olan’s happy place.

Harvest family night!

Harvesting other things besides wheat… The Peters were so gracious to let us pick their mulberries (and we got to pick cherries this year too!). This is becoming a beloved tradition every summer! Purple feet and mouths!

CrossPoint staff BBQ night was coupled with Logan’s birthday! We had fun watching the kids vs. Logan and Trail water fight in the backyard!

These two. Lydia and Olan are great friends!

Pitting cherries at the Baldwins!

Evie ran the cherry pitter non-stop! She was a trooper!

Our annual Manhattan riverwalk splash park! We actually got to go twice – once to visit Cole while the Jansens were here, and once with these lovely folks. Lucky!

At the beginning of summer, Evie was really into the “Puff the Magic Dragon” song. THANKS Aunt Tara! Ha. Anyway, Evie wanted to throw a Puff Party one day, so I went with it and did some dragonese food. Dragon’s tails, spit-fire, spikes, and dragon droppings. Ha ha! Evie decorated with signs and balloons! This girl and her party planning. Can’t wait to see how God uses that gift.

Got to hold Wrenley, FINALLY! And Lydia joined in with a baby doll too!

Our family and Grow Group got to run in the Festival race this year. I was incredibly proud of Evie. We thought we were signing up for a 1 mile run, so Evie could run it with us. Apparently, there’s only a 2 mile race. SOO. We went for it! She and I finished the 2 mile in something like 25 minutes. I gave her headphones to run with (Puff the Magic Dragon on repeat). I was shocked that she did zero complaining. We did a lot of “run to the _____” and take a walk break, but I was so happy to see her finish without acting like she was dying. I especially loved the end of the race. Everyone was cheering for her, and she just took off for the finish line! Love this girl!

Part of our Grow Group!

La familia! Thanks Janine, for pushing Olan, who would NOT come down from the train and get a picture!

Lauren’s birthday eve was spent staying up waaaay too late doing this amazing throwback puzzle. We finished it in one sitting!

Sky! Our kids absolutely loved this place this summer. That whole tot time is like the bomb diggety.

Quiet time with Silas and Evie one afternoon. Moon sand and Captain Underpants audiobook. They did this for about an hour!

This was a milestone for Evie’s summer I think. She got her very own LIBRARY CARD! And the first book to check out: Captain Underpants. Quality literature, folks. Lolol. She is obsessed with these. Glad we are getting through these NOW, instead of fourth grade. Ha ha. And all the parents said, “Amen!”

Evie got to ride on a motorcycle around the driveway!

Collecting berries with Anna. Favorite Grow Group friend!

Family Jeep ride!

Lots of outdoor days. Water beads in the water table were a hit!

READING with my girl. BEST THING.

Grandma Henry visit!

Evie got to paint her own nails for the first time at our house! She did a decent job!

Olan had a big week at the end of the summer. He had an inguinal hernia repair surgery. Scary for this momma. But he did great. I was flabbergasted to watch him almost not skip a beat. He spent the first eight hours laying around, but that evening, he was outside running around playing baseball. Ridiculous. Luckily and surprisingly, Dr. Rupe said no restrictions, so I could rest at ease a little bit knowing it was normal. The surgery itself was about an hour long thing. He was so brave, and when it was time to wheel him back to the chopping block, he sat up in his bed and with wide, curious eyes he took in all the sights, never looking back. He woke up a bit crabby, but nothing like I pictured. I can attribute this to the prayers of the people around us. I had so many texts and messages from people checking in and praying for us. However “minor” surgery it was, it still puts life into perspective pretty darn quick. Praise God for a great result.

This happened too. DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE! And now on to librarian school.


Thundercake making!

And the result!

Something that we all think is super disgusting that Evie loves: combining cottage cheese and applesauce. Blerg!

Super pumped to have gotten back into playing keys at CrossPoint. Even though it won’t be often, still honored to be able to serve and worship in this way!

All the feels.

Evie was over the moon when a butterfly landed on her finger at the park!

Our Lindsborg buddies! Picnicking at the park after the pool!

Family. So nice to be all together in one place!

My baby’s squishy face. And his usual summer getup: diaper only.

Evie’s first backyard campout! She LOVED it. Thank you, Logan, for making this a thing. It was so special to our little lady.

Another memorable event: my nephew, Silas, was bitten by a copperhead snake. Another shout out to the Lord: he made a full recovery!

Science experiment!

These two are just adorable! Olan and Lydia!

My father-in-law turned 60 years young! Ask him about his red suspenders sometime. Happy birthday Chuck! Love ya!

Evie’s newfound love: baby toads. All this water has made these fellas prevalent at the Henry’s house! Flyster, Bugster, Toadster… all sorts of creative names.

Evie found the teenage version of Simba and Stripes at the Trollslandia toy story in Lindsborg!

My babies love to build. Forts, tracks, gadgets. They are their father’s children.

The chicken coop park in Assaria!

Jade’s puppies were ADORABLE! Evie and her animals. Where did this come from?!

Our Parents as Teachers friend, Joy, shaking up some pudding with the kiddies this summer! She is awesome! I so appreciate all the great things I have gained from our friendship, Joy!

My cousin from KC made a few visits to Salina this summer! Love this girl. We even got a “date” night out – Logan volunteered himself to hang with our four kids while we went out on the town. This is another one of my favorite memories of the summer! Good chats. Friends for life!

Another visit to SKY!

Painting at Grandma Baldwin’s!

Painting with our Grow Group at the Rescue Mission!

More of that.

Sweet sleepy baby girl.

We celebrated 11 years of matrimony this summer! Funny to think we were in the exact same location on our wedding day and on June 28, 2019. Had fun kicking it at Unite Salina as part of our date!

This represents a few things we didn’t get pictures of. First off, our neighborhood BBQ we hosted this year! Our lovely neighbors, Cheri and Kerry made some amazing cupcakes (lemon and s’mores). It was such a great evening! Secondly, Janine made surprise cupcakes for Chuck’s 60th birthday party. Yuuum. Third, these were all left with us. Dangerous. So we celebrated Trail’s birthday with a game night and a menagerie of cupcakes! Yay for fun events and delicious dishes!

Random Tropical Sno!

One of the summer projects we embarked on this summer. Ugh. Ripping out the four huge, gnarly bushes in our front yard. This was a crapton of work. Thank you Logan for tackling it. I helped. So did Olan. Evie did not. LOL. Happy to report its completedness!

Olan and his heavy machinery.

Lots of nights like this. What a mild summer the beginning was!

The sandbox momma-to-be! Ha ha!

Sonic. Who knew we’d only be ten minutes worth of walking away from friends and ice cream treats?

Going to haul some dirt home for our dirt work! Everyone’s excited!

Planting seeds. Look at that baby garden!

Snuggles with Aunt Holly!

Our Manhattan excursion. Got to run around Old Stadium at KSU for a bit! Nostalgia.

Early birthday shoes from Grandma Henry!

Went to the fair’s carnival for the first time. A hit for all! Olan got to ride on this airplane and a motorcycle ride. He was in heaven!

Grandma and Grandpa took the kids to the rodeo!

Evie’s so gung-ho about animals right now. She loved the petting zoo probably more than she loved the ferris wheel!

Life in the Fast Lane

The point from January to April has been a bit of a blur. Starting new things, finishing old things, and keeping a steady pace of insanity all describe the last few months of my life.

I will say: God is good. In my chaotic mind, he is still good. And I am still having fun watching him show up in my mess.

April 21 marks the end of my Master’s program, folks. And oh, how I have truly enjoyed it. Cinching up our budget belt and spending a crap-load of money every 7 weeks on graduate level courses? Okay, fine. That’s not been my favorite thing ever. But seriously! I have felt so encouraged and challenged by the knowledge I have gained from these classes and for that, I am grateful. I have seen God stretch my time like he did during the battles of Gibeon thousands of years ago. I have witnessed my own understanding about poverty shift into a more compassionate one. God has given me a new perspective of people who are different than me, reminding me that he loves us all no matter what walk of life we have chosen. And that budget belt? I can only give God the glory for his provisions financially, as we move out of this program debt-free.

Onto a new chapter.

As much as I am relieved to close that chapter in my life, I have felt the pull to push toward a new one. I am super stoked to take another step in my education over the course of the next year! I have been accepted and I’m now enrolled in class, working toward being a Library Media Specialist!

For many years, I have asked myself, “What would I do if I didn’t teach?” To that I have answered in one of two ways. First, if I was dreaming and so much more talented, my job would totally be a musician. I just love playing the piano. And I love singing. But you probably didn’t know either of those things about me because, hey, let’s face it, God didn’t give me the gift of amazingness in these areas. Instead, he gave me the gift of averageness (in many more ways than just making music, actually). My gift of averageness in this life is something I have [mostly] embraced and learned to appreciate! The Lord has given me what I need, and not an ounce more. My averageness forces me to lean into Jesus, and that, my friends, is a blessing, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

Anyway, the good news for me: when I’m in heaven, singing will be my full-time job. The ultimate promotion.

So, in the here and now reality, my answer to the question of what I’d do if I didn’t teach has always been to be a librarian. I love reading. I love kids (and people). I love talking to kids (and people) about reading. Librarian is a no-brainer. So that’s what I’d do with my life if I didn’t teach.

It turns out that librarians are ridiculously educated humans. On top of my Master’s degree, eighteen more hours of class and a licensure exam are required. So, here I go! I figured since the ball was already rolling on being in class, I might as well just snag those credits now. I have witnessed from the Lord a confirmation in so many ways through this process.

Again, I am grateful.

Still, I will seek Him.

For now, I’m pumped and so ready to enjoy the journey!



Evie’s Tumble

Old news: Evie received the first stitches in our Henry family history! Even though it happened a few weeks ago, documenting the occasion only seems natural, as it’s a big moment in anyone’s life. The juicy details are what kids will want to know later in life to be able to recall the tall tales to their friends, right? Where did that awesome battle scar come from? Well, Evie’s got a story in the making.

Actually, it wasn’t really valiant. As she was hanging out with my parents (who are tied with my in-laws as the greatest grandparents ever) one Friday afternoon, she came barreling out of the bathroom to jump on grandma’s lap. Her body bumped against the couch just enough to send her careening out-of-control-face-first-no-bracing-herself into the corner of the coffee table. Ay ay ay! Right on her cheek. So glad it wasn’t her eye, or her nose, or her teeth. Praise God for the miracle that is. Whew!

So yeah, I get a phone call while I’m doing my weekly grocery run to Aldi saying that Evie took a spill. We decided to meet each other at MedExpress as soon as I could get out of the store. Evie comes walking in with a band-aid on her face, happy as a lark. I thought maybe we’d be just fine, but the nurse practitioner, Todd, had other thoughts. Ha!

Now for my shameless plug for MedExpress. Great. Amazing. We’ve actually been seen by Todd before, and it’s been a WHILE. But Evie still talks about him and how he made an elephant come out of her ear, like, two years later. He is a kid whisperer. We have had great experiences each time we’ve been. Recommended!

Stitches were the prognosis. Oh what fun… I sure am glad I have a supermom for a mom. Evie was cool with everything until the Lidocaine shots came. She fa-lipped out. Like three people holding her down screaming bloody murder flipped out. Gee whilikers. Our prayers and God making her brave did not seem to faze the girl. She was literally shaking with fear. She was so T-Oed that this was happening to her. That whole process was the pits. I don’t blame her.

However, once we got through that, she was a peaceable girl. Todd did a fantastic job sewing up Evie’s face, and Evie did a top-notch job of becoming a statue while eight stitches were inserted into her cheek. I’m pretty certain she was doing it all for the candy bars that were promised to her by the stitcher-upper, but hey, it was kinda whatevs at that point. She also got a hand balloon (a latex glove blown up like a balloon). She likes to tell everyone about her loot even before she tells them she got stitches. Ha ha!

The next morning, she acted like nothing had happened. I’m not sure she would have said anything had I not mentioned it to her. It has healed quite well, I’m sure because of our prayers. I gave her no Tylenol for her pain except for the initial wound and for the night. That’s my tough girl!

The real fun was five days later when the stitches had to come out. Drama queen has arrived. Grandma B came over to slice those out and it was basically a repeat of Lidocaine moment. And soooo not as painful. Hoping for less traumatic experiences for her injury and health career. After much logic talk and God talk and bribe talk, Evie sat completely still and had each removed with very little problems. I can only attribute it to the peace of God washing over her. It was a lifesaver.

Now, yes, there’s a scar about four weeks out, but The Ordeal is over. Perhaps in a few months you won’t be able to tell she had stitches. Let’s hope!


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