The biggest catch-up ever: Part 1, the phone pics.

My oh my, how I have missed this space!! I must have thought a thousand times about getting on and updating it but life has been a complete whirlwind and I've just been trying to keep up.  This is seriously the first day in almost a year and a half I have felt like I could just sit and breathe for a minute, not having to figure Covid or grad school out.  

We've been in summer mode for a few weeks, but I was completing my one summer school grad course, which equaled about 6-9 hours of studying a days so life wasn't real fun feeling, but I kept it fun for the girls and made it through. Now onto the deep breaths!

I'm going to post the photos from my Nikon in a separate posts and I'm so excited about them. I hope you'll pop in for that post later this week too! 

Keep in mind, these are the joys I always capture, the beauty and rosy, on the days when you might not have known it but I cried because grad school and mothering was so hard......or this week when I've prayed constantly for my friend who lost her son in a car accident. :( I don't feel called or led to show my face with tears streaming down or try to show the million little sides of me and my life.  They're all present though.  This week has held deep joy and at the same time-deep, deep sorrow and grief.  If you think of it, say a prayer for my friend Kristi please. 

And let's look at what's kept my hopes up lately....the phone pic version.
Light sparkles in the water ALWAYS fill me with such joy!
An arm full of good reminders and coffee.  

Daisies are my favorite!!
Who can say the line about daisies from You've Got Mail?!
Breakfast and lunch combined one morning while studying. 
This is about as dressed up as I can get in the summer.
Kombucha in a pretty cup while I study! Also, random fact: I use a green marker to track my workouts in my planner.  Green equals success to me. Haha-I don't even know why I do that!
Been 98% gluten-free the past two months so this is how I burger now! I also really prefer a veggie burger.....Angler's Grill in Eureka Springs has my favorite black bean veggie burger!

Wildflowers are my love language! 
These strawberries are from our garden and this was delicious!
Took myself to get a mani/pedi, which I've never done in 37 years. I think I would do the pedicure again, but I like doing my nails myself. :)

The day I noticed the late had shifted to summer light...

Macaroons from a sweet student.

I love the water! Driving over the lake is my favorite.
I think this was our boat trip on the White River.

A couple of times I've driven to Tusker Nutrition to get a protein smoothie at work and they are amazingly good! Seriously, the best protein smoothie I've ever had.
Gifts from summer.

This new coffee drive-thru is close and SO GOOD. I don't even like coffee at places out...except for this I do! I like the Zebra Mocha, blended with oat milk, half the sweet.

Getting it done.
A spring outfit.
Mother's Day fun!
Relaxing in the garden....back in spring.

LOVE this floral couch.

Art inspiration found in Fayetteville.

Got this sweet little vase in Prairie Grove at one of the shops.

New workout gear from Old Navy! The pants are amazing!
A favorite outfit. :) Shirt from Old Navy! 

My super smart students figured out the circuit kit and were SO proud! They were just beaming!

H & M dresses are my fave, as are these sandals from Wal-Mart!

The flowers at my mom-in-laws are the dreamiest.

Especially dreamy after a spring rain!
World's tallest magnet tower my students built!
I prefer to always have a salad in the fridge. This potato one was good! We always make our own dressing: evoo, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, grainy mustard, and lemon juice. 

Took the kayaks out for a spin on the King's River! The girls even floated the whole thing by themselves on their own kayaks. Proud mom and dad!

Yikes-the first sunburn. I should have known better and used more sunscreen.
I always prefer a flower bouquet on the counter or table. Simple joys!
This stuff is yummy. Expensive, but yummy.

My bitmoji and I survived the school year!!!!!
Year 9 next year....
Gifted this to a dear friend...
"This girl loves books". 
37, almost 38 and finally really liking how I do my makeup. Better late than never!

We hiked at the Hedges' Homestead in Boxley Valley and saw some interesting things!

It was gorgeous!

If you look up the Hedges' story it is really something. This is their mailbox that was shot.
We found this flower and I got chills at the name-"self-heal". 

This rock wall was breath-taking!
We only saw one other person on this hike. I don't think it's a very well-traveled hike but we sure enjoyed it!

Summer nails and I can wear my wedding ring again! It's been months since I've been able to.
Study candle.
Did I mention we have four kittens?
All packed up and ready for our building to receive five million dollars worth of renovations over the summer!
Got to do face painting with my dear friend and co-worker on field day. 
Field day was the most fun day ever, in the entire world. 
I'm so glad our principal let us have such fun!! What a special memory to end a very hard year.
One of my students drew this and I want to print it out and hang it up big in the library.

Mask-free at Aldi!!!!
Study basics-two coffee cups, inspirational art book to flip through every now and then, a healthy meal, and a Poppi soda.

I plan to make this into a poster too for the library! Stay tuned!

Bean chip nachos with homemade refried beans and dairy-free sour cream.
The kid crafts are at an all-time HIGH this summer.

Probably my only "real clothes" outfit I've worn this summer.

Happy birthday Nana!
Strawberries from our own garden!
You guys, when it's hot and humid out this is all I can muster to wear.
This was delicious! A greek sort of bowl.
Catching fireflies.
Ha! Vitamins and my green productivity marker in the background and just really thrilled at finding two corndogs in the freezer for the kids for lunch. What luck!!
I mean SERIOUSLY, how cute is this?!?!? I could talk about our kittens all day long. They have been like therapy to me on these study days. :)

Rosy maple moth!

Isn't this so cool? We like to use the Seek app to figure out what things are.

We camped for a night and I got to lounge in the camper with the girls and air conditioning. 

Brett and I. :)

YUMMY. Goat cheese,veggies, crackers....most gluten free except for those big circle ones but they were too good to pass up.

Another day, another salad. This one packed in tons of veggies and I made a turmeric dressing for it that was good.

Betsy made me out of play dough! Her creativity and expression is just so inspiring!

Haha-Anna buckled her bunny up next to me in the car and it made me giggle.

Trip to Grandma and Papaw's house and Anna's first 10th birthday celebration! 

Ok, so I did get dressed in proper clothes this day and liked this outfit. 

Sleepovers for both the girls!

Snow cones on Anna's birthday.
Sigh...the prettiest dresses at Target. I wanted that flower one so bad with the circle tag on it but it was more than I usually pay so I passed it up. Isn't it just so full of joy though? 

Creek days are our fave! This is at Devil's Den!

Another day, another salad...creekside. Honestly, I was too hot to even eat much of this but did make myself take some bites.

She's 10!

I've also been dairy-free 99% of the time for two months as well.  These are some of my top favorite things to have on hand!

That post 4-mile treadmill sweat. 

And last but not least, matcha vanilla kombucha in the garden with Brett.

We have honestly been so busy and fitting in SO much that we needed some down time this weekend. Isn't that crazy? After last year when literally nothing was happening to this year where it feels to me like things snapped back to normal in a second.  This highly-sensitive gal has found it a bit odd to not even have time to process all that Covid was/is but still be expected to jump right back into normal life. 

I did enjoy the slower pace of Covid...although I probably wouldn't have said so at the time. I like the options and plans we have this year! But I also like and crave time to be at home to catch up and rest. 

Know what I mean? 
How's your summer? Slow? Full-speed ahead?

What's bringing you joy? I always like to know. When you share it feels like we all light our candle in the dark, or send our beacon of hope and joy out into the world.