Anyone else surprised and also somewhat relieved that this year is half way over? As an empath, it’s personally hard for me to not feel helpless to the events that have taken place in our world in the last few months. I’ve been educating myself, and learning and unlearning what I can to help with current events, but I am realizing that sometimes the only thing that is in my power is to show a little extra love. I’m learning that checking in on friends and family, smiling at a stranger, complimenting someone’s selfie post, or holding the door for people can go a long way…all the time, but especially in these strange times of uncertainty, frustration, disagreement, and confusion.
Honestly, being a new mama this year has been strange. Some days I don’t know if I am worried about our country, or anxious about the future and how things will be while Mari is growing up. I’ve been emotional lately, not really knowing what to think, feel, or say most of the time. But I am learning that if I always resort back to “always choose love” it helps put my feelings and thoughts in the right place.
On another note, things may feel strange, but we have had such a simple & sweet couple of months. I’ve been looking back on previous summers and at times catch myself wishing I was laying on Caribbean beaches, immersing myself in other cultures, attending concerts, and even working weddings. BUT I snap out of it quickly, because even though this summer has been different than years prior, it has been one of my favorites for so many different reasons.
I’ve become so appreciative and have been enjoying all of the little things that I so badly missed last year when we were abroad. Time with family and friends, chasing the sunsets in my car with my loud music and windows down, park days with Harvey, home cooked meals, our AIR CONDITIONING (I caps that because I still don’t know how we ever lived without it) and so much more. I have found a new love for this place we call home, and having a little mini me to experience it all with has made it that much more special. (Even when she hates my excessive photo taking 😉 )
We have also had so many exciting days that are worth celebrating. Other than Derek’s college graduation, we’ve celebrated our first mother’s day and father’s day! For mother’s day, we finally took a little adventure and had a picnic in Pine Valley, about 30 minutes out of town. It was the first time I had gone farther than 20 miles from our house since New Years, and it was the most perfect day filled with all of my favorite things. It was so exciting having a “new” holiday to celebrate, and I sure got spoiled.
On father’s Day, I made Derek breakfast, and his family came over! It was fun to host a holiday for him, his dad, and his brother in law, Axel (who is also a first time dad this year) We didn’t do much the rest of the day and had a lazy Sunday at home, but it was exactly how Derek wanted to celebrate. I’ve seen Derek accomplish so many things and go through different life phases, but watching him become a dad and have a bond with our little love has been my most favorite of all. It was so special to celebrate him, and this new role of his.
Between these holidays that are new to us this year, we also celebrated Harvey’s 5th birthday (^) and our fifth wedding anniversary! It was our “golden anniversary” (is that a thing?) Our fifth on the fifth. We’ve always left town to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but didn’t know what this year would bring with a new baby and the pandemic. Thankfully, we decided last minute that we’d still leave town, but not go too far, and we’d just take Mari with us.
So, we had a little stay-cation in Springdale which is right outside of Zion. We didn’t go into the park since we were only there a total of 15 hours, but we still enjoyed the breath taking views. It had been way too long since we had seen those beautiful mountains. The change of scenery, a fancy dinner, and even just sleeping in a hotel was exactly what we needed. It was the perfect little getaway. In the morning, we visited our “love lock” that we locked the day after our wedding five years ago. It was so cool to visit it on the same day we locked it and retake these photos. We’ve done so much in five years, and it made us realize just how amazing being married to each other has been. 😉
Other than all of these fun holidays and celebrations, we’ve also had so much family time. The weekend after mother’s Day, we drove up to Salt Lake to FINALLY meet our niece, Scarlett, who is just 8 days younger than Mari. With both having new babies and the pandemic, my sister, Whitney, and I had wait a while to meet our nieces, so this day was very special for us. It was so sweet to see them together, and having Mari meet her aunt, uncle, and cousins. She even met her great grandma Wheeler and her great aunts! It was a quick weekend trip, but it was such a special occasion for Mari’s first (of many) road trips.
Since then, she has also met uncle Jake and Aunt Hattie, who visited from Idaho, as well as great grandpa Wade. They hadn’t met Mari or Nico yet, so that day was also special. We had so much fun catching up and spending time with all of them. We also got family photos done while they were in town, which I plan on posting in a separate post, but here is a cute sneak peak!
My mom and Adam also passed through on their way from AZ to park city that same weekend, so Mari also got to meet her grandpa Adam for the first time. She now knows all of her grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and my heart has never felt more full. It is so fulfilling to be surrounded by so much love, she doesn’t know how lucky she is yet to have all of these amazing people as her family.
Two weeks after we visited Whitney and Tyler in Salt Lake, they came to Saint George for a friends’ wedding, so we got to see them and the girls again! We spent most of our time in the pool, and as always had way too much fun. Tyler also proposed to Whitney during family photos that they had planned, and Derek, Mari, Ali and I surprised them after to congratulate them! (I will post these photos in a later post as well) I am so happy for my sister, nieces, and new soon to be brother in law!
This summer hasn’t been filled with many road trips, live music, airports, or beaches, but it has been such a special time in our life. It’s been filled with so many firsts, so much celebrations, so much change, and so many little moments that I used to take for granted. I know that they say having children makes you see the world in a new light, and I completely agree with that. But having a new baby, being in the middle of a pandemic, and spending this summer in the comfort of home this year has made me not only see the world through new eyes, but has also left me feeling more appreciative than ever before, thankful, and so so blessed. And I guess, coming from someone who doesn’t know how to feel about things at the moment, blessed isn’t a bad place to be.
Onto the next adventure, Wren