Summer is always crazy, but it is my favorite time of year.  The kids are home and I love it when they are home.  I had a crazy July with a couple timeline quilts, so the reunion spent last week with my family was such a reward for the stressful couple of weeks I put me and my family through.  The above picture was taken on my brother Jed's birthday.  He passed away when he was 3 months old (24 years ago) and he was the youngest of 11 children.  I remember that day vividly and each year on his birthday my parents get balloons to send up to heaven in remembrance of him.  It is a special time for our family and I am so grateful to have my children participate.
My handsome dad - looking on as we send off the balloons.  I am so proud to be his daughter. He is an incredible man.
 Some of us holding balloons, bless my mom's heart.  She is an incredible example of love, faith and perseverance through trials in life.  I hope I will be just like her someday.  Best part of the trip up north was that I got to see my brother - seen above in the turquoise.  I haven't seen him in almost two years since he lives in Pennsylvania.  It was so wonderful to have him and his wife and children around.  I wish they lived closer. 

 And they are off, one balloon for each person there. The kids really loved this part. 

Even Noah was okay with watching the balloons take off.

 After our trip up north we came home real quick just to get back in the car to travel south to California.  I love the beach, I love California - besides the traffic - it is the perfect place for our family to get away.  

 My sister and her family were making their first trip to the beach, (my sister and her husband have lived in the Midwest for most of their married life and recently moved back) so naturally we invited ourselves to tag along.  These two girls were with each other the whole time.  It was so cute!
 These two monkeys were having so much fun jumping the waves.  Small waves, and I am so thankful that I finally have a camera that can catch their jumps, especially since they cannot jump too high.  ;-)

We stopped in La Jolla to see the Sea Lions - we have never seen a sea lion outside of a zoo before so the kids really enjoyed that.  Such a beautiful area.
Best part of summer is the kids being kids.  I was able to relax this trip - I did not get over anxious about the safety of the kids, which is huge for me.  I am pretty sure that is because I had my sisters there with me.  They help me chill out. 
Yeah, he was 2 1/2 years old on this trip and lived up to the "terrible two's" stereotype, but oh - I wouldn't change it for a minute.  I am blessed each day with our incredible children and even in the hard times, I can not imagine my life without them.
Jess, Amy and me - the only thing better would be to have my other sisters here with us.  

 Sharing a beautiful sunset with my husband is the best way to end our vacation.  Family is everything to me and I know it is to you as well.  I hope you all had a wonderful summer and had time with your families.  School starts next week for us and I am getting a little depressed about it.  I guess it will be good for the kids to get back on a schedule.  Anyway - thanks for letting me share the last couple weeks I had with you.

August 09, 2013 by Judi
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