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The temperatures still hover in the 90s every day, the pool remains open, shave ice stands dot every corner, but with the approach of school, we all bow to the end of summer.

School started for us just this past Wednesday, but already summer, true summer, seems like another life. We’re already into the drill of signing forms, setting alarm clocks, reminding kids about homework and practicing… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Just eight days ago, we were hiking to Dog Lake with Ben and Sammie, Ruth, Zoey, John and Will. Our intention was to get up at 6:30 am and drive to the Timpanogus trailhead for the Parker Bradford Memorial Hike, but we were bone tired from the Ruby Girl retreat the day before. For the first time in years, we missed the hike. And that makes my heart hurt.

One day soon, I’ll post a report of the retreat on the Ruby Girl website. I’ll describe how beautifully the day went, our wonderful instructors and volunteers, the way every participant felt uplifted and inspired. What I won’t reveal over there, is the tremendous cost to my family and myself. I tried so hard all summer to plan the retreat while still being a good mom and wife, I’m afraid I completely lost myself. I’m exhausted. Just so tired.

IMG_9316 copyStill, we did manage to hike! The six miles flew by while we relished in each other’s company. We have no whiny hikers right now— and that’s pretty amazing.

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Over the weekend we had visits from so many of our favorite people (an end of summer bonus),

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watched the Olympics until 11 pm every night,

IMG_9365-2 copyand by Tuesday night we were ready to back-to-school blessings and a 9 p.m. bedtime.
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Our very favorite Mormon tradition might be back-to-school blessings. Every child gets the opportunity to talk about their hopes and dreams and worries for the coming school year and Erik lays his hands on their head and gives them a blessing. It’s an opportunity for us to talk about kindness, helping each other, looking out for anyone at school who seems lost or lonely.

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Everyone at our house has a big year ahead of them. As student body president Xander has a responsibility t0 befriend every student, plan events and videos and attend meetings; Gabe might still be in junior high but every two minutes someone reminds him– “As a 9th grader your grades count this year!” and Mary’s making the big jump to junior high as a seventh grader.

Yes, she’s scared. Yes, she’d probably rather homeschool another year, but I know this is the right path for her and she’s done amazingly well. Even at orientation she recognized that she could befriend kids who’d just moved into the area or were transferring schools. She may have been homeschooled the last few years, but she has the advantages of a really cute ninth grade brother, the nicest friends and living in the neighborhood. Plus, 7th period home release just to ease her transition.

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These three. So lovely. So good to each other– funny and capable and smart. I wish I could freeze time. Instead, I’ll savor every day.

It’s going to be a golden year for all of us.

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  • August 22, 2016 - 2:11 am

    Tasha - I never comment- but always read. Thank you so much for publishing this wonderful blog. Your thoughts, insights and honesty are most appreciated. I hope you and your children have a fantastic school year.ReplyCancel

  • August 24, 2016 - 8:37 am

    Jen hurst - Love this. Of course I do. I love you. And love your insites. Such a beautiful family.ReplyCancel

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dear Hansie, I’m starting off with this photo since I think it’s my favorite this week, but you’ll have to read to the end for the explanation.

You should know the world has completely changed since my last email– we’ve been invaded by monsters. Cute little Pokemon monsters hiding on every street, every church, flooding parks and malls. And by everyone, I mean 10,000,000 downloads in the first week. Servers are crashing all over Europe and North America. Since I checked the map and you’ve likely never heard of it in Madagascar, here’s the 411.

Everywhere you go, little monsters are hiding behind trees, resting on the sidewalk, hiding in trash cans. Once you download the free app you can catch them by throwing little balls at them. Most are easy to catch, but the more valuable ones are tricky and keep escaping. You can also find eggs, but they won’t hatch until you walk 2, 3, or 10k. And that’s where the brilliance lies– the game encourages players to go outside, walk around, wander the park, meet other people. Every church serves as a “store,” every public park as a “gym.” It’s amazing! Suddenly people are walking around all day long, sitting on the church lawn laughing and trading tips. We went to Sugarhouse Park one evening to see thousands of people milling around capturing monsters and enjoying a gorgeous summer night.

Of course, there are detractors. People have been mugged when playing at 2 a.m. and two guys fell off a cliff in California, but in general, with some good sense, it’s pretty fantastic. Just imagine Gabe and Mary traipsing off  several times a day, logging mile after mile and working together to catch monsters. Since they don’t have smart phones, they use mine and I’m perfectly happy to be less accessible.

Enough about Pokemon. We’ve had a week of great visits. All the Dudley grandchildren came to swim and they are beyond adorable. Ben took this epic photo of the whole group:

The Halls have been in town and maybe we love them too much. We want them here all. the. time. We may have scared them by our complete adoration.

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And I had two Ruby Girl writers from the Bay area stop by to visit– Anabella and Sofia. Aren’t they cute?

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We also hosted a shower for Haley and Christina. Let me tell you, a double baby shower isn’t twice as fun, it’s THREE times as fun.

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Last night, we had a picnic with the Swahili Branch. They asked me to bring my camera, which makes everything more fun. There were so many cute babies and friendly mamas, cool little boys, girls dressed in Sunday best and plenty of people who know lots about Madagascar and even speak a few words of Malagasy.
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I even found a new photography assistant.

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Mary painted faces for nearly three hours and forgot to eat dinner. Actually, she can’t eat dinner. She just got braces on the bottom and an expander on the top, so eating isn’t one of her talents right now. Gabe got braces too but he’s somehow managing to eat plenty (but not carrots. never carrots).

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And today we celebrated Xander Drysdales homecoming from his mission in Peru. He’s been gone so ridiculously long.

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Cute little Gracie wasn’t even born when he left and now she can talk and walk and beg Mary to feed her blueberries.

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Remember that Sunday two years ago when we took a photo much like this, ate amazing pastries and lounged in their family room just enjoying the beauty of the day. We were all so happy and getting along so well we decided we should have parties like this all the time. Ben and Sammie should get married and we’d have a big party with fabulous pastries and dancing until the sun went down.

And it was completely, totally ridiculous because Ben was in Jerusalem, Sammie was in France, they were both involved with other people and had never been on a single date with each other.

We were outrageous. Dreamers. Fools for romance.

 

And beautifully, gorgeously, completely right.

EI3C4371 copyAh life. We have so much happiness ahead of us.

 

I love you and I miss you every day.

Hugs and kisses, mom

 

  • July 19, 2016 - 5:57 pm

    Ruth Mitchell - Love this so much!!!ReplyCancel

  • July 24, 2016 - 2:07 am

    Michelle Linford - Whenever there is a dearth of hope in someone’s life, that person should just read your blog.

    Thanks for being a ray of sunshine for the world.ReplyCancel

    • August 7, 2016 - 10:06 pm

      mlehnardt8@msn.com - Thanks Michelle. <3 <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2016 - 4:47 pm

    Nancy - I recently came across your blog. Such s beautiful family. It makes me happy seeing the possibilities in the stage my family will move into over the next decade. Do you mind telling me how you pronounce your Hans? It might be a moot question as perhaps his name is said in the German way, but we are expecting a little boy. My husband has always wanted us to use Hans after our eight million Danish and Norwegian ancestors who share that name, but I’m hesitant about moving ahead unsure of HOW we’d say it! I know we would definitely using the a sound like in man (as opposed to car), but can’t get that last s right in my mind. My husband says it like the plural of pan or fan “pans, fans” — which has almost a z sound. But I’m thinking we might need to have a more traditional s sound to the end. Like rhyming with being in a trance or even pants. Silly question, but I never HEAR anyone with the name — only see it everywhere in our genealogy. But if I did use it, I’d like to know how to say it for heaven’s sake!ReplyCancel

    • August 21, 2016 - 9:50 pm

      mlehnardt8@msn.com - Hi Nancy, I love your question. Hans is named after his Danish grandfather, but we use more of a German pronunciation. Hans rhyming with ‘bronze.” We certainly debated it, but decided Hans rhyming with pans sounded too American. I don’t know if that makes any sense! But we mostly call him Hansie. <3ReplyCancel

      • August 22, 2016 - 7:13 am

        Nancy - Thanks for the reply. And “Hansie” is a charming moniker.ReplyCancel

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