As I prepare for my return to Academia this coming semester (new parking pass, textbook reservations, getting my pic snapped for my all-new-student ID, because apparently my original one from 1998 is a little out of date, paying tuition--$224 a credit hour now!!!!), it occurs to me that “summer” is coming to an end. Not the blinding summer heat, or this ridiculous drought, but the “summer” as defined by “school” is definitely ticking away.
Therefore, I’d like to take this post & dedicate it to reminiscing over the fun things we’ve done this summer! That way, when I’m sitting in class next month sweating over the chemical components of fibrous clays, I have something to reflect back on with a smile. So here’s just a few fun pics from the Summer of 2012.
May: Annual Memorial Weekend Trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama!
Sometimes, low lighting blur makes for an awesome photo op.
Also—dolphins can surf:
June-July: Float trips!
I should clarify something here, in case there’s any confusion. In Missouri, “floating” involves a canoe and occasionally paddling. Whereas in Louisiana, “floating” involves an inner tube and a prayer that no trees get in your way. Either way, you’re not moving very fast & can easily kill most of a day with your friends. We got in about three float trips so far this year, which is a pretty nice way to spend a Sunday.
The Pugster also loves to float and swim, although he spends much of the day trying to get into someone’s lap, or into someone else’s boat.
Mainly because it has a handle.
Rocky sez: Algae iz tastee.
June: Somewhere during the summer, I got addicted to Bubble Safari on Facebook…and apparently, it got addicted to me, too…
Geez, Monkey, co-dependent much?
June: We took my folks up to Kansas City to watch the St. Louis Cardinals slaughter the Royals. My dad is a die-hard Cards fan, so I like to take them to one of the “I-70 Games” each year as a Father’s Day gift. This year, we teamed up with my cousins and aunt to make it a family outing!
Yay tailgating with the fam!
July: We took a jaunt about 4 hours north to Columbia, MO for an Independence Weekend camp out. Rocky made friends with some alpacas:
And then he made friends with a gi-normous Great Dane:
…who later decided he didn’t want to be friends with Rocky anymore, and attempted to literally bite his head off.
Alas, Rocky’s still young & ornery…whereas Diesel (the Dane) is older and gets crotchety after midnight. We’d like to think Rocky learned some sort of life lesson from all of this…but no, after he was patched up & calmed down, he was right back to his antagonistic lil’ self. *sigh*
July: The Hubs & I celebrated our one-year anniversary! We made a week-long celebration out of it, starting off with a quick work trip down to Louisiana, then a fancy dinner at Fire & Ice here in Springfield:
Left: Flavored butter for our rolls—raspberry and orange. SO good. Right: Some of the best creme brulee I’ve had in YEARS.
And we finally ate the top tier of our wedding cake, which was still moist & delicious, thanks to AmyCakes:
Then & Now: Vanilla Buttermilk w/Triple Berry Compote.
Kathy & I are old friends & fellow cheesemongers from Martin Wine Cellar back in the day, so Kathy’s only request was that the first dish I make in this beautiful piece of artwork be SUPER cheesy. And I am true to my word! Stay tuned for seeing this dish featured in a blog post coming SOON!
July: My husband MADE FLOUR. Seriously, this still blows me away. He is so stinkin’ resourceful!
We also had some very tasty beer. I love trying new summer seasonals, and this was my fave of Summer 2012:
Grapefruit and GINGER. It’s a refreshing citrusy ginger beer. I love it. So much so that we asked Finn’s to put it on tap. Thus far, no dice, but it was worth a try.
July: We also rented a pontoon for a day and had a lazy day on the water at Lake of the Ozarks with six of our friends. I brought my camera…but didn’t take a SINGLE PIC. I just think of it as a sign of having a really great time—I was enjoying myself too much to bother with photos.
August: The Hubs & I volunteered with our church for Project Partnership to help paint a local school. Springfield is a city of about 160,000 people with 55 public schools in the district. As such, maintenance is just severely underfunded. Without the community’s help, the schools in this area would only get renovations & upgrades (painting, landscaping, minor construction/repair projects) completed every 20 years—but with the assistance of Project Partnership, the schools get these well-needed updates every 8 years.
The Hubs & I are in this photo from the local news: He’s the blue shirt up on the ladder, & I’m the blue shirt just below.
There were about 300 volunteers this year and while they had slotted the whole day (8am-5pm) for the work, we finished up all the painting & construction projects by 1pm. We sometimes catch a lot of flack for attending a megachurch (weekly attendance averages 9,000 between the two campuses), but I’m proud to be a member of a church that provides so many opportunities for community outreach, and sometimes it’s our sheer numbers that makes so many amazing things possible.
This summer, our church also sponsored a “Bags by the Bumper” campaign: on the first Sunday of each month, patrons could bring a bag of groceries to church & leave it out by the bumper of their car, and the parking lot attendants took care of bringing everything in. All the groceries go to local families in need through our One Heart community outreach. We also did a “Stuff the Bus” drive, both at the church & at various drop-off locations around town, where good Samaritans could fill a backpack with one set of school supplies and drop it off for a local kid whose family can’t afford supplies.
Even if only half the people at our church participate, that’s still 4,500+ bags of groceries & sets of school supplies. Not even counting what non-church members in the community might donate. It’s totally awesome to be a part of something like that. My husband & I have been truly blessed in our lives—loving families, good friends, college diplomas, steady jobs with decent paychecks, one devoted but mildly psychotic dog, no debt but our house… we couldn’t ask for more & wouldn’t want to.
To be able to turn around and bless others is really what life should be all about. :)