Have a Great Summer – See you Next Year!

This post, like most of my posts, has been unraveling like a ball of yarn over the last few weeks.

Like a ball of fire. Like this:

Honestly, sometimes it’s just all about summer. I am summer-ravenous. I am summer-extreme. I would spend every day of my life in summer, if I thought it was worth it. If I thought that having no interruptions or breaks to smell Christmas holly and feel the tiny weight of a snowflake on your eyelashes wasn’t worth something too. If it weren’t for gold and amber leaves and feeling my running shoes sink into slick mud, but not caring at all what it is, as long as it isn’t snow or ice. Maybe you can’t have summer without winter, the way you can’t have rainbows without rain. I HATE rain. I love watching these soar overhead:

The other night I was feeling angsty, as one feels when everything is all chaotic and confuddled in the brain, so I took Des to a local food truck and ice cream parlor. We sat with our food under evening sun and clouds, the smells of smoked meat and smoked cigarettes, the sounds of “Acoustic Spotlight creeping over. It felt like summer had arrived. It felt like I had too.

Only a little overdue.

It started happening last spring. Random stomachaches. They weren’t often enough to be concerning to anyone but me, but they happened every two or three weeks like clockwork. Instant, crushing, brief, over. Repeat. I only canceled one photo shoot because of them! As I often do, I Googled it and walked away with Crohn’s Disease, because it’s always Crohn’s Disease when you Google a stomachache. What it was, what it is, is always a reaction to summer. It’s scrawled words on a yearbook that always catch in my heart. We all did it. Another year gone. Another endless summer. You’re standing at the abyss.

Sometimes it seems like everything happens in the summer. It’s not just the small/big changes of letting go of a school year and opening yourself up to the possibility of a whole new change in routine. It doesn’t matter how old you are – it just hits you. I call it Little Earthquakes. I wake up with tremors sometimes. Mild, like stomachaches that only happen every so often. It’s my bodily memory telling me of the passing of another year – the catch in my throat and in my heart. It’s the passing of time, always, which makes me more fragile than most things. It’s all of the births, deaths, and big adventures I’ve known.

They’ve almost always been in summer. I can’t help but wonder what’s next.

– 10 years ago, my “ex” Cassidy called me on my birthday, and sent my cozy, little/big life into an upwards spiral.

– 20 years ago, I had the most life-changing road trip to Canada and discovered a lot about the human spirit. I’m still discovering.

– 30 years ago, actually more, was when I lost my father on a summer day. I’m almost the same age, at the same time, and with two kids. It was two weeks after his birthday, which puts me smack in the middle of my 20 year road trip anniversary.

Am I living or am I dying? Do I only have a few months of life left, like he had? Did he know? I feel like I have more maybe. Like 10, 20, 30, or 100 more years. Logically, I think I’ll keep going. Bodily memory wise, I wonder. Then it will pass.

It’s scrawled words on a yearbook, that don’t tell the whole story. It’s season finales, or worse, series finales. I nearly can’t breathe. It starts in my stomach like a cold freeze and goes up into my lungs. I can’t breathe sometimes, to even try to wrap my head around goodbyes and hellos, and hellos and goodbyes, and just how much we must stuff down sometimes, so as not to scream so loudly we’d never stop. The joy, like the pain, is sometimes contained. And other times, comes screaming up and out – on top of a roller coaster, screeching around corners, out the car window of a summer drive, and in the simple, joyful actions we perform every day. And I may always believe in magic, but boy, do I believe in it more on a summer day.

I believe in it more, because of who I grew up to be. Who, what, where, when, why, how.

Maybe all of the summers have been lining up, are lining up, will always be lining up – to take me from year to year, stomachache to relief, relief to stomachache, hello to goodbye, goodbye to hello, darkness to light, light to darkness, rain to rainbow, rainbow to rain, to take me to who I grew up to be, and who I’ll STILL grow up to be. As it changes. As it ages.

Linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s heady topic is “How I grew up to be the one I am now…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

Woodland-Moose Party Inspiration.

Tamara here. I have a treat for you today because my friend/blogger, Leslie, is here to share about moose parties. You know I love moose. You know I love parties. Leslie blogs about many wonderful things, and I’m so excited to be swapping posts with her today. Look for me at From Playdates to Parties, talking about party photography. Just consider it a party day!

Hello, friends! I’m so excited to be posting here on Tamara’s blog today. I’m Leslie, and I write over at the blog From Playdates to Parties where I share stories about my family, lots of food, and whatever craftiness I’m attempting next. Being here today is kind of like going over to a pen pal’s house for the first time. I’ve been reading Tamara’s blog for a couple years now and am so grateful that she would invite me over to share some inspiration with you.

I know Tamara’s blog isn’t about parties or crafts, but I have to say that she and Cassidy are definitely artists at heart. I simply can’t forget Scarlet’s fourth and fifth birthday parties with all those amazing cardboard cut-outs. Secretly, I’m looking forward to seeing what the Bowmans pull together this year. But we all know that Tamara absolutely loves moose and that she and Scarlet have already had their first moose hunting adventure. So I just knew that I had to pull together some inspiration for a Woodland-Moose Themed Party that would be perfect for such a fun family.

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My family loves a silly pun, so I couldn’t resist including this Mousse Moose cake from My Name is Yeh). That cardboard moose head from Hostess with the Mostess is definitely a showstopper while the triangle tree garland from Pastels and Macarons is the kind of backdrop that anybody can make. I also love the idea of making animal footprints like these found at Babycentre UK. Wouldn’t that be fun spray painted onto the grass as animal footprints throughout the yard?

I know Scarlet has her awesome fox hoodie, but now her friends could join in on the fun with felt animal masks like these at Sooti & Sweet. Pin the Antlers on the Moose (from Scraps to Remember) is a fun take on a classic party game, and what kid wouldn’t enjoy decorating their own Moose cookies? (Fete Celebrations via Hostess with the Mostess) Even though fairies aren’t necessarily moose or woodland, a fairy house painting station via Catch My Party) seems to be a natural fit for the event.

But everyone knows the best part of a party is the food, right? Isn’t that hedgehog cheese ball (from A Journal for Clay) just the cutest thing ever? And you know you can’t help but giggle at the chocolate covered raisins re-named “Bear Poop” (via Catch My Party). Craftiness is Not Optional used candy berries as “Woodland Berries”, but fresh berries or gummies could easily be substituted.

Party mixes are a classic treat that pretty much everyone loves. One of my favorites was Moose Munch from Harry & David. I’m a sucker for a sweet-salty combination. So I thought it would be fun to pull together a new type of Moose Munch just for you and Tamara. Tamara’s Moose Munch is a salty, cookies-and-cream party mix filled with buttery popcorn, crushed cookies, mixed nuts, and lots of chocolate. The best part is that it’s so easy to make. Even my 3-year-old helped. Both of my girls taste tested the mix and gave it two thumbs up!

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Tamara’s Moose Munch

(makes approximately 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • One bag of light butter popcorn (approximately 5.5 cups popped)
  • 20 Oreo Thins, crushed
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts (we used peanuts, almonds, & cashews)
  • 3/4 cup white candy melts
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Spread popped popcorn on lined baking sheet, removing all remaining corn kernels.
  3. Sprinkle popcorn with crushed Oreo thins and mixed nuts.
  4. Melt the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl by microwaving for 10-second intervals and mixing well in between. Candy melts are prepared when they mix smoothly, without any lumps.
  5. Sprinkle melted candy on top of popcorn mix. Start by using a fork to drizzle the melted candy. When the candy stops flowing easily, quickly flick the fork back-and-forth over the mixture.
  6. Using a large spoon, gently mix the popcorn and candy melt mixture until there is a light coating of candy melts on the popcorn and nuts.
  7. Melt and sprinkle the chocolate chips using the same methods as in steps 4 and 5. Do not mix the chocolate into the popcorn mixture.
  8. Place the mixture into the refrigerator just until the chocolate is set, and enjoy!

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I want to thank Tamara so much for having me over here today. It was a fun adventure to come up with ideas to celebrate her love for moose.