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We Did It: A Look Back Through Our Summer Bucket List

We swam, we traveled, and we went to bed many nights with sun-kissed cheeks and sandy toes. I had such high hopes for all we might do going into this summer, and as I look back through the photos and recaps of all our weekends, I can say with confidence that we definitely lived it up.

Of course there are many wonderful things about the coming fall season puffy vests, turning leaves, and endless pots of soup. But today I’m taking one more look through the blessing that was the past three months. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we savored every bit of sunshine, and ate as much watermelon as we could get our hands on.

Here’s a look back at how we spent our summer!

  • The bucket list 1 of 36
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    Looking through our summer slideshow, I can't think of anything we missed. I can't wait to add to this list next year!

  • Moved to a new house and celebrated our newest family member! 2 of 36
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    Our summer started with a move to a new house over Memorial Day weekend! And if that wasn't enough, we hosted a house warming party and casual gender reveal with our friends the following day. We found out that Cullen will be getting a baby brother this fall!

  • Walked our favorite loops and trails 3 of 36
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    Even though Cullen prefers to be down on the ground more than in the stroller these days, we still made the most of what was a beautiful summer getting out for walks and strolls as much as possible. We made it around our favorite three mile lake loop many times!

  • Discovered and used new parks and playgrounds 4 of 36
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    Oh did we ever. Since we moved back to the city at the very beginning of the summer, we had ample time to explore and find all sorts of great new play spots. Cullen is really into sandboxes and digging right now, so any parks with a sand or gravel pit were top on our list.

  • Decided to Swing as Often as Possible 5 of 36
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    My child LOVES the swings. While many kids his age have lost interest and are busy tearing across bridges and flying down slides, Cullen still loves to swing back and forth for as long as we'll let him. I love his infectious smile.

  • Ate a picnic in the park 6 of 36
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    We stopped at a roadside restaurant for some of Seattle's most famous sandwiches, and took them to one of our favorite parks for dinner. The food was delicious, the views of snow-capped mountains over the water were breathtaking, but the company was the best part. I am so grateful for all the quality family time we had this summer.

  • Spent as much time together as possible 7 of 36
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    My husband and I are incredibly family focused, and we try to be together whenever possible. It's simply what feels best to both of us. Even though we part during the day, and sometimes those days are really long, we took advantage of late sunsets and long weekends, and really soaked up a lot of wonderful time together these past few months.

  • Spent some time apart 8 of 36
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    With that said, we also spent a bit of time apart this summer. I went away for the weekend to celebrate a friend's wedding in San Diego, while Casey and Cullen held down the fort in Seattle. Casey also traveled to Atlanta to meet our new niece, and did the usual work travel here and there as well. The time apart just makes us that much more grateful for all the time spent together!

  • Went down a water slide 9 of 36
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    I couldn't believe Cullen liked this, but he couldn't get enough! We did toddler swim lessons and went down the big slide on the last day. We rode down over and over and over again, until the pool was closing and I had to literally wrestle him out of his wet bathing suit. We went back to the pool with dad for another go at the slide later in the summer fun for the whole family!

  • Enjoyed our big new backyard 10 of 36
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    One of our favorite things about our new house is that we finally have a decent yard. Living in the city, square footage comes at a premium and it's not easy to find much green space without moving much farther out. We absolutely love our backyard, and spent almost every afternoon out there this summer. I love that Cullen loves being outside just as much as we do.

  • Went blueberry picking 11 of 36
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    We did this as an outing with my mom's group, and Cullen and his buddies had way too much fun. We didn't leave with a single berry, as he ate every one that I picked the minute it hit the bucket, but that wasn't the point. The experience was well worth the trip, even if there was no blueberry pie to be made afterward.

  • Played on our local beaches 12 of 36
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    Despite its gloomy reputation, Seattle actually has beautiful summers and incredible beaches. We are lucky to have quite a few just a short ride away from our house. We spent many weekend mornings and playdates splashing in the Sound and digging in the sand with friends.

  • Visited the ocean 13 of 36
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    We took a family trip to South Carolina at the end of July, and spent as much time on the beach as we possibly could. Cullen fell in love with the sand and the surf, and it was so much fun to watch him be such a little fish.

  • Rode a bike 14 of 36
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    We had two trips to Hilton Head this year, both of which involved lots of bike riding. We discovered that Cullen really likes the bike seat, so we ended up getting one for our bikes here in Seattle too. Cullen has been cruising around town on the back of Casey's bike, and it's a fun thing for them to do together. I look forward to joining them on bike rides at some point after little brother is born.

  • Rode a surfboard 15 of 36
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    Okay that wasn't really on our original summer bucket list, but it sure was fun to watch. Cullen had a blast playing with Grandpa in the ocean, and one of his favorite morning activities was being dragged around on a surfboard. Too cute!

  • Ate an alarming amount of ice cream cones 16 of 36
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    Embarrassingly enough, Cullen's first multi-word phrase was "ice cream cone." And you'd think we eat them every day for how much he talks about them. Right now his favorite toy is a miniature ice cream truck, and his favorite book is about sharing an ice cream cone. We might need to find a healthier treat for winter eeek!

  • Visited with grandparents 17 of 36
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    Despite living on the other side of the country, Cullen is totally smitten with all of his grandparents. In May, we got to see Grandma when she came to help us move to our new house. And in July, he got to spend a week with Mimi and Grandpa at the beach. It never feels like enough, but we really try to enjoy the time we do all get together.

  • Met the newest member of our family 18 of 36
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    Cullen has a new cousin on dad's side of the family, and we got to spend a week getting to know her during our beach trip. He was very interested in and gentle with her all good signs considering we'll have a new baby in our house soon too. I can't wait to watch these two (soon to be three!) grow up together over the coming years!

  • Got a grill for the backyard, and actually used it! 19 of 36
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    Check and check. We got a grill early in the summer, and used it several times a week for many months. We grilled everything we could think of; corn on the cob, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, squash, seitan, tofu, veggie dogs, burgers, and more. We have loved grilling so much that I might be the crazy person standing out at the grill with an umbrella this fall.

  • Finally got that playhouse that mom has talked about for so long 20 of 36
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    For whatever reason, getting a playhouse for Cullen became my summer obsession. I stalked Craigslist and list-serves daily, and finally my endless hours of clicking paid off. I scored this great playhouse for just $30 at a local garage sale. It was covered in spiders and totally disgusting. A good power washing and some replacement sticks and labels later, it looks good as new! Cullen loves having friends come over and play in his "house."

  • Learned to play "ball game" 21 of 36
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    Cullen got to go to two baseball games this year, and he seems to have fallen in love with the sport. Casey really likes baseball too, so he got him a tee ball set for them to use together in the backyard. Cullen also plays at a buddy's house once a week, and they practice there quite a bit. His swing is pretty impressive for an almost-two-year-old!

  • Dined al fresco as much as possible 22 of 36
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    The only thing better than a late summer evening dinner is one enjoyed outside in the fresh, warm air. With a new space and room to dine outdoors, we dragged Cullen's highchair outside every chance we had. This is also helpful for cleaning up less mess!

  • Made our annual Father’s Day card for dad 23 of 36
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    Last year, I made a cute photo montage of Cullen holding up the letters D-A-D and framed it for Casey's office. This year, we didn't frame another set, but instead we gave him updated photos to replace in his old frame. We hope to make this a yearly thing for as long as the kids will tolerate it!

  • Went on a ferry ride 24 of 36
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    There are a number of beautiful places around Seattle that are just a short ferry ride away. But somehow in our two years here we had yet to take advantage of this! That changed this summer when we ferried up to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. Cullen loved being on the boat, looking out the window, and running down the aisles.  

  • Explored lots of new local hiking trails 25 of 36
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    Casey and I love hiking, and this area of the country lends itself to some of the most amazing views you can imagine. We hit up a lot of our old favorites, but also explored quite a few new trails and parks. Many thanks to Casey for hauling Cullen around in the hiking backpack not exactly a light load!

  • Visited the islands surrounding Seattle 26 of 36
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    As mentioned before, we finally ventured beyond Seattle this summer to explore some of the surrounding islands. Cullen and I surprised Casey with a weekend trip to Orcas Island for Father's Day. It was beautiful, relaxing, and exactly what we needed. I can't wait to explore more of these islands in the coming years!

  • Played in the sprinkler 27 of 36
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    Our weather isn't usually overwhelmingly hot, but we did have a week or two where temps were in the mid-90s this summer. Our lack of air conditioning made things pretty sticky and uncomfortable, so we did our best to cool off however we could. Cullen was a big fan of the sprinkler.

  • Went to a baseball game 28 of 36
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    Cullen actually got to go to two games this year, one with some of our friends (including his best toddler buddy!) and another just him and dad. I know this is something my husband loves and looks forward to doing with the boys for many years to come. I personally look forward to the veggie dogs and the garlic fries. To each his own, right?

  • Shopped at the farmers markets 29 of 36
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    We are blessed to have amazing year-round farmers markets here in Seattle, but there is no doubt they are best in the summer. I tried to make a point to shop a lot less in the grocery stores these past few months, and to pick up our fruits and veggies locally as much as possible. We also love buying fresh flowers and cruising past all the local artist and antiques vendors.

  • Rocked a sweet pony tail 30 of 36
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    Okay again, not reaaaaaally on the bucket list, but too awesome not to mention. This was during our ninety degree week, which happened to coincide with Cullen's desperate need for a haircut. You do what you have to do.  

  • Splashed in the water table 31 of 36
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    After letting Cullen splash in his infant bathtub (that I dragged out into the grass) all spring, we finally upgraded to a real water table when we moved to our new house. He has had a blast dumping, drinking, and splashing all summer long. In related news, I have done a lot of extra laundry.  

  • Ate excessive amounts of watermelon 32 of 36
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    Is there anything more quintessentially summer than watermelon? I don't think so.

  • Picnicked and partied with our friends 33 of 36
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    We were lucky to share many great summer evenings and outings with our local "family" our amazing group of friends. Cullen is so blessed to have a great group of toddlers he sees on a regular basis and they are all almost exactly the same age, too!

  • Enjoyed our amazing balcony and views 34 of 36
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    One of my favorite features of our new house is our amazing master bedroom balcony. On nice evenings, Casey and I turn off the TV and take drinks and snacks up there after Cullen goes to bed. We soak in the views, enjoy the mosquito-free evening breezes, and savor a chance to have a quiet space to enjoy together. It feels like we are on vacation every time we do it, and I'm trying to take advantage of as many nice nights as possible before the weather turns.  

  • Hosted visitors from afar 35 of 36
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    We wrapped up our summer with a visit from Aunt Rebecca, Aunt Sarah, and Cousin Jonah. We had such a blast showing them around Seattle and watching the boys play together. Our family will add two more little boys in the coming weeks, and we are so grateful to have had this wonderful visit before the next crazy season starts. We miss them so much already. Sniff.

  • Acted like a kids 36 of 36
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    More than anything, this summer was just a really great chance to plant roots and continue to develop as a family. Last summer was still about figuring out our new city and our new-ish baby. I can honestly look back through this summer and this list, and say that I don't think we missed a thing. 

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