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When my 10-year-old daughter wrote “berry picking” on a tiny piece of green scrapbook paper with white cameras all over it three months ago, I knew it had a good chance of being one of my favorite Summer Bucket List activities.

After all, we’ve been berry picking before. It’s not new to our repertoire of things to do. Once a summer, typically in August, we travel to a quaint little orchard to pick raspberries. It’s awesome every time. I knew this outing would be no different.

The kids kept asking WHEN we were going berry picking.

I kept saving it for the last possible moment, the last days of summer. I kept it for the last week of summer. In fact, it was our last Summer Bucket List activity for 2015.

When we arrived, we headed straight to the main building to pick up plastic containers and a wooden basket for gathering and carrying our raspberries. Then we made our way back to the raspberry fields.

There were two fields as far as I could see. In one, two or three retired ladies were chatting and picking raspberries peacefully. I saw no reason to interrupt their Thursday morning adventure, and to be honest, I wanted this to be an intimate experience, so I directed my kids to the other raspberry field where we’d be alone.

There was nothing exciting or grand or particularly noteworthy about our berry picking adventure. But it was peaceful, relaxing, and delightfully wholesome as usual. I wondered why we don’t do this more often.





The kids picked and picked and picked.

I breathed.

Walked slowly.

Picked and ate a few berries as I meandered.

I took photographs slowly, with purpose and intention, as if my life, my worth, my identity didn’t hinge on my ability to capture this one, beautiful moment in time.

I breathed some more.

Exhaled all the good and bad of the whole summer long.

And thought of the grace I so desperately need to embrace.




By the time we made it through the raspberry field, all three kids’ containers were filled. Well, except the baby’s. She’d hopped in the wagon half-way through and popped those berries in her mouth, one by one.

We slowly made our way back to the car, then back to the main building where we paid for our three containers of raspberries and added two homemade sugar apple doughnuts and a bottle of water to share for good measure.

I found us a nice table for four in the back corner of the orchard’s restaurant. It was lovely. Simple. Quaint. The wholesome I long for.

We broke our two doughnuts in half so we each had a piece. Three of us shared the water. The fourth wanted a Mello Yellow or Diet Coke instead. I calmly told him no. We were keeping it simple. We were staying under budget. If he didn’t want to share water, he’d have to wait to get something until we were home again. I didn’t berate myself for being a “bad mom” for saying no. I didn’t get all worked up. No was the answer and neither of us made it into a big deal.

We sat.

We oohed and aahed over the goodness of the doughnuts.

And yes, I got a little sentimental with the piano music playing and us being in the corner of that little orchard restaurant on this second-to-last day of our first summer home together full-time, just the four of us. Tears began welling in my eyes. I tried to hide it from the kids. But after a while, they noticed.

“Mom, are you crying?”

“Did you have a good time today?”

“Are you sad this is our last day of summer together?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“The piano music doesn’t help,” noted my 10 year old.

So true.

They know me, those kids.

They know I can get stressed and overstimulated, but they also know I can be a sentimental mess over things like this.

We finished our doughnuts, then I brushed the sugar off their shirts.

They fed the goats and sheep. Jumped across hay bales. Popped their heads through a few orchard signs freshly painted for fall apple and pumpkin picking crowds. And just like that, our last Summer Bucket List adventure was over.

Berry Picking.

Cost: $16.65

Mom Lesson: It’s all good moms. Summer’s been good and bad and everything in between. You’ve got this.

Kid Lesson: Kids thrive in the wholesome simplicity of summer.



This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.


Okay, everyone. This might be the only time you see a Vikings picture on my blog. And you must forgive me, because the Mall of America outing I’m about to describe wasn’t on our original Summer Bucket List. So I feel like I’ve cheated a bit. But once you hear the story, I think you’ll understand WHY I’m including it in the Summer Bucket List series. Because bucket lists are risky sometimes. Bucket lists are fun and adventurous and full of who knows what might happen. So let’s do it. It’s Friday. Let’s chat about ALL the grand adventures at Mall of America!

The story begins two weeks ago at a Vikings football game. My son, Cooper, went to a game with my dad, my brother and my brother’s girlfriend. Apparently, when they were leaving the game, they each received two or three of these Mall of America “Mystery Gift Cards.” Cooper showed the cards to me immediately when he got home. He was bound and determined that we were going to use them! My husband and I spent the next week and a half trying convince Cooper that they were a scam, a sweepstakes, not a guarantee of anything at all, just a ploy, a way to get people in the mall, worth nothing more than a coupon for $5 off dinner at Rainforest Cafe or $20 off a $100 purchase at Nordstroms. I’m not even kidding you. We were really dissing and disregarding those “mystery gift cards.”

On Monday, when Cooper had been begging for a week and a half to go to the Mall of America so we could use these “mystery gift cards,” I finally told him there was a CHANCE I might give in. After all, we had nothing planned for the day. The one problem was that there was only $14 left in the entertainment budget for the week, so funding for the day’s adventures was bare bones.

I also told the kids that if I gave in to a trip to the Mall of America to use these “mystery gift cards,” that they’d have to be aware that they might be ALL COUPONS, that they might end up with that $5 off dinner at Rainforest Cafe and $20 off $100 at Nordstroms. And if that was the case, our fun for the day would be going to those locations and giving people the coupons to use on their purchases. Random acts of kindness was the worst case scenario. Who could say no to that? My kids didn’t. They were willing to take the chance, even if all they won was a bunch of coupons. So off we went to the Mall of America.

We parked at Nordstroms, as we were supposed to redeem these “mystery gift cards” at Nordstroms Court, whatever that was. We found Nordstroms Court quite easily, actually. The kids took their 8 mystery gift cards and headed straight for the redemption center (Cooper had his + my dad’s and brother’s gift cards they’d given him).

A cute young woman with blonde hair took Cooper’s 8 tickets, smiled and told us we “actually have a chance of winning something good” with this many tickets.

One by one, we won.

1 Mall of America coupon book. (told you so)

1 Mall of America coupon book. (told you so)

1 Free Pepsi at Hard Rock Cafe (pretty much told you so)

1 Free Scavenger Hunt at Nickelodeon Universe

1 Free Scavenger Hunt at Nickelodeon Universe

96 Points at Nickelodeon Universe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Score! The kids were right on taking this chance! We had several hours of rides ahead of us!)

1 Free Pepsi at Hard Rock Cafe. (pretty much told you so, but it doesn’t matter anymore)

1 Mall of America coupon book. (told you so, but it doesn’t matter anymore)

This was craziness! The kids were elated beyond belief. They were so excited that they won! And I couldn’t believe they actually won anything of substance. Good going, Mall of America! You successfully got and kept us there for a full day!

(Apologies to my son for the pictures…we’d just arrived at the mall and he was carrying his baby sister’s Sophia the First backpack for her. Sweet, right?) 




We made our way to a Guest Services desk to redeem the 3 tickets we had for Mall of America coupon books. We scored 3 coupon books that typically sell for $9.95 each, all valid through December 31, 2015. I was inclined to take just one coupon book, because we only come to the Mall of America once every couple months. But the kids advised me to take all three. So we did. I figured I’d give one to my brother who helped us win all this.

Then we headed down to Nickelodeon Universe to redeem the two Scavenger Hunts and see what that was all about. The kids each got a map, a credit card thingy, a green Mall of America pencil, and directions for where to head first. Okay. So apparently, I was clueless. I kept asking what the goal was, if we were going to get something when we turned in our completed map at the end of the hunt. I quickly discovered that the only point was to hunt. There was no prize other than to solve the “problems” at each station hidden throughout Nickelodeon Universe (the huge open area in the middle of the Mall of America with all the rides) and enjoy the journey.

The Scavenger Hunt was a bit boring and tedious for me. But honestly, the big kids LOVED it, so I sucked up all the adult in me and enjoyed the adventure.



After the kids finished all 12 stations of the scavenger hunt, it was time for lunch! We perused the coupon book we just received, on the hunt for some BOGO deals. (Remember, we only had $14 left from our entertainment budget and since I’m not earning any money for our family right now, I’m trying to honor that budget as closely as possible.) We found BOGO deals at Auntie Annie’s, you know, the pretzel shop? I hadn’t eaten anything there in YEARS, but we made our way anyway and enjoyed 2 for 1 pretzel hot dog combos. Not the most healthy lunch, but it worked and the kids were pleasantly surprised at how much they liked those pretzel hot dogs. Plus, they allowed me to use TWO coupons, so we paid a total of $13 for all four of us to eat!


After lunch, we went back down to Nickelodeon Universe to begin using our 96 points of rides! We priced it out before we began riding. 96 points had an approximate value of $75.00! SCORE! Without that one “mystery gift card,” we would have never gone on ANY rides that day.

I didn’t keep track, but I’d estimate we were able to go on a total of 10-15 rides with those 96 points. Since Maisie, our baby, was too short to ride many of the rides by herself, I often counted as her chaperone and didn’t have to use points. That made the points extend further. Plus, our first ride was free because the guy’s scanner wasn’t working. The kids thought that was extra cool.

My favorites were Swiper’s Sweeper (pure joy for the kids) and The Ghost Blaster Ride (always fun for everyone). Our carousel ride is one of my favorite summer memories.



By the time we used up all 96 points, the kids were ready to be done.

We made our way to Hard Rock Cafe and handed our two Free Pepsi coupons to people dining outside. Those random acts of kindness came true, at least in part!

We had a dollar left from lunch and a couple extra dollars in my wallet, so we pulled a Buy 3, Get 3 Nestle Tollhouse coupon from the coupon book and bought 6 cookies for a snack. After that, we caught a 10-minute kids game show at which the girls had a blast dancing and winning a gummy crabby patty.


I was exhausted that night, but we had a blast.

Were the “mystery gift cards” worth the trip to Mall of America? Definitely.

Was the adventure Summer Bucket List worthy? Definitely.

Thanks, Mall of America! 

Cost: $17.75

Mom Lesson: Be bold. Live free. Take a chance! That thing your kids are asking you to do might just work out for everyone.

Kid Lesson: Keep using those mystery gift cards!




This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.


It was already 4:00 p.m. when they asked if we could go to the beach. I was hesitant, as it had been a long day already. But we had nothing to fill those witching hours before dinner and dad’s arrival back home, and it was a warm, beautiful day. The kids reminded me “the beach” was on our summer bucket list, so I agreed. Yes, let’s go. To the beach it is.

When we arrived, we made our way straight to the water. A ginormous family gathered to the right. Picnic tables littered the forested area leading to the beach. We chose the table closest to the water’s edge, 20-30 steps from here to there. The two oldest plopped their stuff down and entered the water promptly. Like any “good mom,” I organized all the stuff at the table, then got our youngest geared up in her life jacket before she headed to the sand.



I made myself comfortable at the picnic table, watching the kids swim within the buoys from a distance, watching our baby play in the sand. But something was making me feel uncomfortable, guilty, really. I felt like I was TOO FAR away from my children, like I wasn’t being a “good mom” sitting at that picnic table 20-30 steps from me to my baby, many feet from my children frolicking in the water. It was my perception of a “good mom,” my perception of one “good beach mom” that did me in. There she was, the embodiment of “good mom,” fully pregnant with dad and one older child frolicking in the water, all three of them together loving and enjoying this beautiful day.

Yes, the contrast between my perception of that mom and my perception of myself was stark in my mind. That pregnant mama frolicking in the water with her husband and son? A “good mom.” Me at the picnic table in full-on clothing and several steps and feet from my children? Not a “great mom.” Yes, I’ve read all those viral blog posts telling mom to “just put on that suit and get in the water, your kids are only young once.”

I was feeling guilt and condemnation from the start of this summer bucket list gig. And it was likely largely in my mind.

So I got up from the picnic table, took off my shoes, picked up my camera and moved much closer to my baby.

Fortunately, there was a gigantic rock right next to her. So I sat there, close. It felt better, more responsible, more engaged, more motherly. Although I still had guilt that I was clothed, not “right in there” with the kids.

I chilled out for a while. Relaxed. Dug my feet in the sand. Wiggled my toes. Watched the big kids frolic in the water. Took a few photos of my baby playing in the sand, making her own version of sandcastles – the kind you never flip over into castle form. I watched as she found tiny rocks and one by one, carefully placed them on top of her castle. It was all grace. Pure grace for my “not a good enough mom” heart that day at the beach.





But after a while, I looked up, looked long, looked all around. Why oh why do I do that? Why oh why must I constantly worry I’m not doing life right? Why look right and left when I already had peace? Why question and compare my identity with hers and hers and theirs?

This questioning and worrying and wondering if I’m doing life all wrong must stop. But it didn’t. The subtle lies ruminated in my head as I looked left, right and all around at everyone else.

Look at all the people swimming. 

Look at the moms building sandcastles with their children.

Look at that pregnant mom frolicking in the water with her husband and child, enjoying life, taking advantage of every opportunity to get right in the thick of things.

You’re not swimming.

You’re not even in a swimsuit.

You’re just sitting here on the beach, fully clothed, with a camera, watching your children from “a distance.”

You’re not a “good mom” like them.

You’re not getting life right.


The subtle, but undeniable lies continued ruminating in my mind as I sat on that rock at the water’s edge. But God persisted with grace, unmerited favor upon me.

After a while, the baby was clearly done with the sand.

We got up and made our way back to the picnic table to brush and dry off. I checked my clock for the first time since we arrived. To my surprise, we’d already been there for 1 hour 40 minutes. It was 6:10 p.m. Dinner time. We were 20 minutes from home and I hadn’t even started dinner. “Good mom” came to mind. “Good mom” would have had dinner in the crock pot all day or a cold tuna salad and fruit salad waiting in the fridge or a full-on picnic dinner of chicken and coleslaw for that picnic table. But I had nothing. No dinner. Dad likely on his way home from a long day at work. And then there was us, here at the beach. And me, late and empty handed.

This was truly an amazing, fun-filled summer bucket list adventure for my three kids and a torturous “bad mom” adventure borne out of my wandering mind.

So I called the big kids in. “Come in, guys!” It’s time to go! Time to get some dinner!”

The only thing is….they didn’t respond. They didn’t listen. They didn’t come in from the water. They just kept playing and acted like they didn’t hear me when I know they did.

I was miffed.

So I called my husband and let him know we were at the beach, that I’d called the kids in once, but they hadn’t listened, that I was trying to get them out sooner rather than later so we could get home for dinner together, that I didn’t have anything planned, but maybe he could make some hamburgers and beans and we could have some of that watermelon cut up? (Yes, I intentionally wrote that as a run-on sentence because it best describes my wandering thoughts and worries that afternoon.)

I called the kids in again. “Come on guys, time to go!” They looked and me and kept swimming. Utter disregard for my direction. I was starting to get irritated, but there was nothing I could do. My 10 year old and 12 year old were swimming free, independently, far out by the buoys and having a heck of a good time! Why in the world would they want to come in now except for complete OBEDIENCE? I couldn’t blame them and was waffling between just letting them swim some more and complete anger at their disregard for my direction.

So I let them swim some more, because there was nothing I could do other than get in the water with my clothes on and drag them out. And that didn’t seem sensible nor necessary.

Did I mentioned God persisted with grace through this whole adventure?

It was as if He was saying…breathe…rest my child. It’s okay. I am here and you are a good mom despite their disobedience right now.

I watched as my baby filled a bubble bottle cap with with water and stirred with an old glow stick she found on the ground. I watched as she did this dirty, hard, small work with care. I watched as she walked up the steps, down the steps, then jumped off to the bottom without a care in the world. She walked and jumped again and again and again some more.



Time passed in grace. Enough so that I felt it was justified to give another try at calling the kids in so we could leave, so we could get home, so we could get dinner with dad.

I called. “Come on in guys, it’s time to go. We need to get home for dinner. Dad’s home now.”

They didn’t respond. Kept playing. Kept swimming. Kept laughing and swimming farther out, farther away from me.

I was getting ticked now. Angry.

The baby was ready to go. I’d packed up our stuff and was clearly ready to go. I started waving the kids in, gesturing “come” as quietly and nonchalantly as I could without making a scene. Every time the kids paid attention to me, I gestured angrily and abruptly, attempting to let them know I was mad and needed obedience ASAP.

No response.

No obedience.

I was so mad.

To make things worse, this was all happening in the immediate presence of the “good mom” who was still pregnant, still frolicking in the water with her husband and one older son. I was truly embarrassed that my children were not obeying my direction to get out of the water. I was truly embarrassed that I had to keep calling with no response. I was truly embarrassed that I came in clothes and was stranded on the beach with no way of getting them out of the deep other than to make my way in, fully clothed. I am truly embarrassed to say it was 7:05 p.m. before they finally got out of the water.

I let them know that I was SO mad, that I had been calling them in for 55 minutes, that they had been so disobedient and I was not happy at all.

I gathered our stuff.

And we took one last walk along the beach.

Grace for us all.



As we drove out, we passed a beautiful pond surrounded by grasses and wildflowers. It reminded me of the beautiful pond my sponsored child’s tutor stopped to photograph in Haiti, the one I made into a 8×10 and sent her in the mail because I knew it meant something special to her.

More grace.

I stopped the car. Got out. Told the kids I was taking a moment for myself. Walked around and snapped a few photos at my leisure.





My husband had dinner ready when we got home. Hamburgers, beans and watermelon cut up. I told him about the kids’ direct disobedience, how the outing was great fun for the kids and not so great for me.

After dinner, my husband took the kids. And I took some time away, by myself, in our bedroom. After a good long while, they came in and sincerely apologized. I’m sure at the direction of their father, but still. The apology was felt.

I wasn’t the world’s greatest mom, but I was a better mom.

Swimming & Sandcastles

Total Cost: $0

Mom Lesson: Moms need heaping doses of grace. Everywhere. All the time.

Kid Lesson: Kids have fun and make fun anywhere, even when they’re in trouble.



This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.



My husband had the afternoon off, so we decided to include him in our Summer Bucket List fun for the first time ever. A family bike ride seemed to be the best option. After all, we desperately needed dad to fill all those tires and make sure everything was in working order.

Our two adult bikes were hanging from the garage rafters. We hadn’t ridden them in two, maybe three years. They were dusty, dirty, and the tires were completely deflated. So Seth broke out the pump and filled everyone’s tires while I managed other prep needs.

Two children put on their helmets without question. One child did NOT, I repeat, did NOT want to wear his helmet. “Dumb.” “Babyish.” “This looks so stupid,” he said. “Nobody my age wears a helmet.” We persisted that we were going on a very long bike ride and that he needed to wear that helmet. Finally, after much persuasion, he agreed and we were on our way.




As we biked out of our driveway, I realized it had been an incredibly LONG time since we’d gone on a family bike ride. I honestly couldn’t remember when the last family ride would have been. As we greeted a neighbor on our way out of the neighborhood, I also realized that it’s incredibly RARE to see families go on bike rides together anymore. Growing up, my family went on bike rides all the time. Back in the 80s, it was fairly routine to see families on casual evening bike rides around town. But today? Not so common at all.

By the time we got all the way out of the neighborhood, I was already a bit winded. Seth reminded me that I should be the most physically prepared for this bike ride since I work out so faithfully. But I haven’t ridden a bike for any long distance in years, so truth is, it wasn’t that easy for me. Why is it that biking as an adult is so much more physically taxing than it was when you were a kid?

We rode those bikes 3.5 miles anyway, all the way to our destination. Up hills. Down hills. Through neighborhoods. Along the highway for a bit. Across the railroad tracks. Then finally through a long bike path.

We drove without stopping, although when we arrived at our destination – a large park – we were exhausted. Thank goodness for the bottles of water I hauled in my backpack.


After a few minutes of rest, we decided we’d go down to the lake where there’s a public swimming area. Suddenly, the kids had a burst of energy. “Let’s go swimming!” Ummm….okay? They, of course, didn’t have swimsuits along, so they agreed to go in their clothes. Not exactly mom’s ideal scenario, but it worked. Two kids in the water with soaking wet clothes. One playing on the sandy, wet shore. No swimsuits for mom or dad. No towels. And no change of clothes for the kids. But again, it worked! Perhaps I need to get out of my box more often.

The fun eventually wore off and the kids came in from the water. We reminded them they’d have to ride all the way back (another 3.5 miles, mind you) with sopping wet clothes, that they might get chafed skin with all the rubbing that was about to happen. But they didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they barely complained about those wet clothes. Wet clothing wasn’t an issue at all. I was shocked.

So we made our way back, all 3.5 miles. Up hills. Down hills. Through the bike path. Across the railroad tracks. And along the highway. Maisie, our youngest, exclaimed “woo hoo” from her baby bike trailer the whole way long. (Yes, that was my favorite part of the adventure.)

The kids wanted to stop for ice cream. Dad thought it would be better to stop for another round of hydration. So I tended the bikes, and Seth and the kids went into a gas station for drinks. We refueled as customers pumped gas. Then we made our way back home.

Elsa LOVED it. Said she’d do this everyday.

Cooper not so much.

Maisie. “Woo hoo!”

Seth and I? A little exhausted.

Family bike ride? An overall success.




Family Bike Ride

Total Cost: $9.00 for beverages at the end of the ride

Mom Lesson: Step out of the box and have a little fun.

Kid Lesson: Don’t underestimate kids’ ability to go with the flow.





This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.


Our pizza party happened fairly spontaneously, really.

We were due to pick up Cooper from his morning activity and it was lunch time, so I asked the girls, “Should we get a pizza and head to the park after we pick up Cooper?” They agreed it was an awesome idea, so we pressed onward with plans.

Boys and girls flowed from the school. Cooper hopped in the car and instead of heading for home, we headed to the pizza place for carryout. Cooper was delighted. “Who’s idea was this anyway? This is fun!” he exclaimed.

When we arrived at the park, we casually made our way to a shaded area with picnic tables and got set up. It was incredibly simple. One large Domino’s carryout pizza. Soda. Some paper plates. And a few napkins. That’s it.

Simple was the word.

Almost benign, unremarkable.




But yet, not.

It worked. It was fast. And it was fun for the kids.


We ate our pizza. We drank our soda (not nearly all of it, mind you). We cleaned up. All in a matter of 10-15 minutes.

Then we made our way to a nearby park. Because for some reason, parks always work well for us.

They swung.

They took turns jumping off swings.

Maisie went down a triple slide.

Then they all went down the triple slide.

They climbed up. Came back down. And climbed some places they really shouldn’t have been climbing.

They had a blast.








When they exhausted their fun at the park, we made our way along a bike path and landed at the skateboard park.

All three kids ran back and forth, up and down, on the skateboard ramps. It was hot. And the ramps were pitch sparkly black. I’m not sure how or why they ran that long. But they did. Apparently they needed some exercise. Cooper was the first to weary. Then Elsa. Then Maisie, “the baby.”

Just when I thought it was time to go, Maisie made her way up to the top of a skateboard ramp onto what looked like a big stage. Cooper, Elsa and I were sitting on a park bench at this point, so we watched as Maisie began performing her favorite songs. Let it Go, of course. And ABCs among other childhood faves. Then, after a while, Elsa joined her on stage. Cooper followed shortly. Before I knew it, they were singing ABCs, as in ALL TOGETHER, at the park, on the skateboard stage. I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears for that matter. My three children were singing the ABCs ALL TOGETHER at the park?! You can’t make this stuff up, especially when two of your kids are 10 and 12 and far beyond ABCs.

This was quaint.

This was obviously a once in a lifetime occurrence.

This was a little other worldly.

This was the motherhood I envisioned before I became a mom.

This was the moment that made me feel like I was doing something right. Even if the moment only lasted as long as the “ABCs” song.


What more can I say? The moment came. And the moment passed.

It was a simple outing. Far better than I would’ve ever guessed sitting at that fairly unremarkable pizza party table.

Another summer bucket list activity checked off. Another day at home with the kids.

Pizza party (and another park).

Total Cost: ~$12.00 for pizza and pop

Mom Lesson: Don’t underestimate kids’ ability to make fun anywhere.

Kid Lesson: Big kids are still little kids at heart.





This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.

  1. Carol Femling says:

    I meant koolaide!!!

  2. Carol Femling says:

    I used to take you kids to the park several times a week when you all were young. You all loved the simple sandwiches, chips and kookaide that I brought for our lunch. I would LOVE those simple days back!! Enjoy them while you can!! ❤️

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