Friday, August 15, 2014

The Best Summer Ever

My bucket list keeps getting longer. It seems the more I check off, the more I add to the list. 53 years old, and I'm still amazed at the things I haven't done, and the places I've yet to see. Another summer is quickly winding down, and I've still never been on a cruise. I have yet to see the Grand Canyon. I have still never been to Zion's National Park to hike the Narrows, Angels' Landing or the Subway. And yet...
Let the road trip to Denver begin!

As Bridger and I were driving toward Denver recently, he remarked to me, "I have to say, I think this has been the best summer ever." I had been thinking the same thing, but wanted to know what made that true for him.

"What sets this summer apart from others? Why is it the best for you?"

"I've spent a lot of time hanging with my friends. We've gone to Jeb's Hole (a local swimming hole in the canal system). We've played night games."

"And the road trip to California was awesome," I added.

"And the road trip to California WAS awesome," he agreed.

We were on our way to Denver, our annual summer road trip to see his sister Sierra, and we were grateful to have this little vacation time to ourselves.

I have teased that Bridger is my baby hummingbird, coming in to the feeder only briefly, and then flitting away as soon as he has eaten. On the rare occasion he turns into my song bird, our house is filled with the sound of his guitar. I haven't minded my living room looking like a musician's paradise...full of guitars and amplifiers. Music is that boy's life.

For me, it has been the best summer for different reasons. While our adventures were highlights for me, as well, there has been an emotional and mental shift that is almost imperceptible, until I look back at how far I've come. There is finally room for play in my life.

In today's meditation, the centering thought was "I am playful." Playfulness in our lives invites creativity, receptivity, and revitalization. We all know the old adage, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Our lives seem to have more positive energy when we take the time to play. 

Deepak Chopra says, "Being too serious or heavy takes us away from our playful, joyful self. It also keeps your spirit from expanding. No matter how old you are, you will be young at heart if you know that play renews the spirit...[Play] embraces joy, spontaneity, and fun."

The spontaneous moments of the summer are what have set this one apart from all of the others in recent history. Concerts, road trips, meeting new friends for breakfast or lunch on actual dates (!),  parades, fireworks, community dinners and work nights at the potato patch, solo bike rides, shopping in thrift stores (and of course, showing off our more ridiculous finds), tubing down the river, hiking...all of these moments have added a spice to this summer, making it the most flavorful, so far.

Today, I go back to work. My summer officially "ends" today, but I am determined to keep a summer state of mind. My August Mary Engelbreit calendar has this awesome quote:

"'Why not?' is a slogan for an interesting life." - Mason Cooley
Whenever possible, I plan to answer each opportunity to do something fun with the "Why not?" response. Today may be my first day back to school, but the summer will resume as soon as I get off work. We're taking off for Bryce Canyon with a great group of friends to attend the Utah Symphony concert.  

When my friend invited me, my initial thought was, "What if a man asks me out, and I already have plans with my friends?" AWESOME, was the answer to that question. The old Denise would have chosen to spend time on a date over time with friends. The new Denise knows there will always be time for dates, but how many chances will I have to hear the Utah Symphony under the canopy of the night sky in Bryce Canyon? EXACTLY.

What will you do for fun this weekend? If you haven't already made plans, I'd like to suggest you figure out at least one fun thing you've been meaning to do, and go do it! 

Some of my favorite memories of playing this summer...
Hiking the Flatirons with my Colorado kids.

I take every opportunity to make my daughter nervous. Pose with
a statue in the middle of downtown Boulder? Why not?

My hero...

If there are hats, we WILL be trying them on!

My hummingbird is also a song bird.

We went to the hot springs for the first time!

Dye his hair blue? Why not?

Can't remember the last time I went to the fireworks in July. So glad I went!

My silly hiking buddy.

Family picture day

Charlie's Angels...yeah, right...

Sometimes we like to pretend we are "Mall Cops" just to make
Sierra nervous.

Thrift store finds. Yep, she bought the one on the right.

What's a summer without shaved ice?

Solo bike ride through the canyon? Why not?

Bridger will always be our Boo.

Spontaneous trip to the big city with Kimberly? Why not?

Have an awkward moment with a stranger at the shore? Why not? She was a little drunk, I was a little nervous, and somehow I ended up wearing her sweatshirt before the evening ended. 

Spend a long weekend with virtual friends I had never met? Why not?

Run a 5K Color Run? But I'm not a runner. Why not, indeed?

Memories of a great day hiking with my most  favorite people in the world.

My happy hikers, all five of them together at once!

For a good time HIKING, call...

Get out there, and have some fun!


  1. In my little world I'm often referred to as the "fun mom." :) I've tried to be a mom who says "yes" unless there's a definite reason to say "no," though I'm not always great at it...and I generally am up for whatever comes my way as long as I think my physical self can handle it.

    This weekend is son Nate's "not farewell." We're picking Braden up at the airport, and Seth might make it as well--all my kids together for the frist time in over a year (and that was for Seth's wedding!). Crossing my fingers that Seth and Sandra will be able to come for sure!

    1. Jana, you are such a wonderful mother. I love the stories you share about your children. This is a big year for you; all of the children out of the house for the day, leaving you with some time to actually think, and go to the bathroom by yourself. I know you will adapt quickly, filling your days as you fill your spirit! Best wishes...

  2. Love it. You packed so much in this summer. Loads of great adventures. Loved seeing your pictures and getting this recap.

    1. Oh, Tonia...I'd give anything to spend this last weekend at your ranch. What a restorative paradise you have there. Thanks!

  3. These pictures are PRICELESS! LOL-ing like crazy over here!

    1. Of COURSE, you're LOL-ing. Crazy woman.


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