Our First Summer in the Mountains

Now that we’re nearly to Halloween, I’ll backtrack to our first summer in the mountains. What a big summer we had. It was filled with change, family visitors, building a community and making new friends and exploring. There were oodles of highlights from our first summer as permanent mountain dwellers.

We started the summer with Alex’s parents being here for about a month as we celebrated Ben’s fifth birthday and got ourselves settled into our new life.

Once the summer solstice hit, the temps skyrocketed. The highest I saw was 113. The kids and I became so accustomed to days spent outside in 100+ degree heat that it became too chilly for us to swim outside if it was below 90-degrees. Ben’s lips literally turned blue one day in the pool when it was 88-degrees. Hah!

The kiddos both took swimming lessons all summer – Ben in group lessons, while Hannah preferred the 1:1 private lesson dynamic. By the end of the summer Ben could make it across the pool unassisted. It wasn’t pretty, but he could do it!

Just before the Fourth of July we made the difficult choice to say goodbye to our dog, Jackson. He had been suffering from a fast-growing carcinoma (cancer). It was a devastating loss for all of us.

The loss of Jackson rocked us, and our summer plans, so we decided to take a very spontaneous road trip to Jackson Hole, Jackson’s namesake. That was one of the biggest highlights of our summer. We spent a day in Yellowstone and loved the time we were in Jackson and Teton National Park. I hope to visit again!

{Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone}

Just after arriving back from our road trip, Alex drove down to Salem, Oregon and picked up our new puppy, Brooks. The turnaround time from losing Jackson to welcoming Brooks was quite quick – only two weeks. It’s actually been really great having that short gap. We didn’t go so long that we got out of the routine of having a dog.

Mid-summer days were largely spent in town at the pool. Here, we met *so* many other local families with kiddos.

We loved our once-a-week trip to the local ice cream shop, Whistlepunk.

Riding bikes this summer was SO fun for us all. Ben is a total pro on his little bike and Hannah really started charging it on her scoot bike. She’ll be ready for a two-wheeler in the spring, for sure!

After Alex’s parents monthlong trip and our return from Jackson, we had grandparent visitors sprinkled in every other week. The kids have been overjoyed to finally be able to see their grandparents more often.

As summer marched ahead we had to navigate a whole lot of wildfire smoke. It began in late-July and carried through until Labor Day or so. It felt like for a solid six weeks I was checking the air quality on a daily basis, then limiting our outside time very regularly. Most of our smoke was caused from the Nason Fire, a 100+ acre fire 15 minutes from our house.

I spent the summer in physical therapy for my hips. Long story short, I had an “injury” from lack of strength and stability. So, friends, keep up on your core strengthening exercises and don’t just do cardio like I did!

We celebrated Hannah’s third birthday mid-July. So far three has been SO fun with her.

My mom came for a visit over Hannah’s birthday. We had a beach day, pool day, cupcake day and bookmobile day.

Shortly after, my dad came to visit, too. We explored a couple new beaches and the kids even got him out on the trampoline!

We wrapped up August with one final grandparent visit. Alex’s mom came to help me with the kids for a few days while I pulled together an event for the Leavenworth Farmers Market.

Just before Labor Day I made a final trek out to Wenatchee for some apple and nectarine picking with the kids. It was one of those extra special days I will remember for a very long time.

That particular day ended with the loveliest dinner outside at a restaurant in a screened-in igloo, then a trip to the beach to watch the sun set. It was perfect.

This summer was so, so lovely. It was filled with a lot of unexpected happenings and a whole lot of fun and exploration. We’re absolutely loving our mountain life and feel extremely connected to the community here.