Looking Back on Summer 2019

Taking time to look back before moving ahead has become a favorite practice of mine; following Emily P. Freeman’s lead and example. I often link up with her at the end of every season to share my reflections. Here’s a list of 10 notable things about my summer ranging from what I’ve learned to what I’ve experienced.

  1. A Summer Goal

At the front of my journal this summer I wrote down some lines from the book Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan as a theme to embrace for the season, especially the part about resting in the gentleness found in small moments together;

With these long, slow days of summer, I decided with fortitude, that my top priority was to look after my sons, my husband, my garden, and my house- all gifts given to me.
— Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
I wanted to rest in the gentleness we found with each other in small moments
— Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

2. emeals app

Game changer! After trying the two week free trial of this meal planning app, I loved it so much I’m signed up for the whole year now. The app connects to my Walmart grocery app, and sends all the ingredients from the meals to my shopping list. It lets you add and delete items too. It’s super flexible. Then I just swing by the grocery store for the free grocery pick-up that Walmart offers! I signed up for the Healthy and Quick meal plans, but they have several different plans. Jeff can’t believe how much I am cooking now, and well either can I! So, I’m learning lots of new easy meals.

Even my friend, Jessica, who studied at and graduated from a fancy culinary school uses it and loves it. The kid-friendly meal plan is the option she picked.

3. flooding + Tornados

I pull up to the school sidewalk, the teacher opens the door “They don’t know yet.” she tells me. It’s the end of May and I had just received a message from the school that it would be the last day due to the rising Arkansas River and tornado warnings. Which is why several of the older 4th grade girls could be seen crying as they passed the traffic guard on the crosswalk. The older kids were so emotional when they found out it was unexpectedly the last day of school, that they decided to hold off on telling the younger students. So, school let out early not only because we used no snow days, but because water rose to extremely high levels at the end of Spring beginning of Summer.

At the Gathering Place (our new beautiful city park) that evening I sat on a grassy hill watching the river rushing and rising, watching Oliver and other kids roll down and run back up the hill as the sun set and summer began.

What did I learn? oh I’m not sure it just seemed like an important event to note since it was unusual and it was how the summer started; sandbags in front of doors, tornado/flood sirens, and a surprising early school dismissal.

4. Philippians

I learned about Philippi and the book of Philippians.

I began the summer reading Sold Into Freedom by Carole Towriss, a Biblical Fiction book. The setting takes place in Philippi and it’s based on a story in Acts chapter 16. The Sunday after I finished the book, Oliver brings home a coloring sheet from Sunday school with a picture of Paul and Silas in prison singing praises to God, just like from the book. When these kind of coincidences happen I pay attention. That Sunday I also found out our church would be studying the book of Philippians throughout the whole summer.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
— Acts 16:25


Jeff and I have been reading through the Magic Tree House series with Oliver, and through it I’ve learned lots of interesting things about animals, different cultures, legends, and history. Oliver is loving it, and begs me to read it to him each night. Did you know with a running start Kangaroos can jump over a bus?! And legend has it that when the Titanic was sinking the musicians played up until the boat went down and the last song was “Nearer My God to Thee.” From silly to serious stuff, I’m finding the stories interesting for sure. Yesterday we read about Clara Barton, the “angel of the battlefield”.

6. preferences; on mountains and transportation

In the Spring we took a trip to the Rocky Mountains. We flew on a direct fly from Tulsa to Denver. It was both sunny and snowy on the trip. We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies and plan to go back! It was amazing.

This summer over the 4th of July we drove to the Smokey Mountains, which Oliver kept calling the foggy mountains. So cute.

What I learned comparing trips; we actually prefer road trips verses flying. And I decided I want to visit the Smokey Mountains in the Autumn instead of summer next time; very hot and muggy with lots of poison ivy spotted.

Also, I learned there are no toll fees at the Smokey Mountains National Park; unlike the Rocky Mountain National Park, which made me wonder if that is why the trails felt a bit nicer at the Rockies? Who knows.

7. Spanish reading, Bike Riding and Swimming + CRAWLING, teething, and clapping

It felt like a big summer of growth for our boys and us as a family. So along with that comes the growing pains, I guess! Trials of a teething baby and a reluctant cautious bike rider. Continued swim lessons too. We pushed through a lot this summer. Oliver is repeating Kindergarten in the dual language program so I worked to stay consistent listening to him read Spanish even when I questioned the progress. Keep on keeping on! One cute sign of growth; Ivan clapping with his big dimpled smile! We needed all his claps cheering us on.

8. hello birdie

On August 1st we welcomed my new niece Birdie Michele Fouch into the world.


To celebrate my birthday and our anniversary Jeff and I took a small road trip to the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile restaurant and shop followed by a hike through the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. It was such a fun day date! I tried a coffee drink called the spicy cowgirl which is now a favorite of mine! Getting it again when we go back.

10. Happy Camper + Clean Garage

With days left before the school year started we were graciously gifted a camper by our dear friends. Hanging over our heads since we moved into a new house in November weeks before the baby was due, was the task of cleaning out the garage. Many boxes never quite got unloaded or sorted before Ivan was born, and well once he was born in our spare time it was hard to find motivation to complete the unfinished project. Until that is we were given a camper and needed to make space for it! So the end of our summer was spent clearing clutter in the garage and then going on our first camping adventure! We are still learning the in’s and out of camping with a pop-up camper! It’s been fun searching for campsites and hiking trails to enjoy in the future.