These Are the Days of Our Lives | Summer 2016

1. Bach to Reality | Wisconsin

2. Dinos and Bunnies | Minnesota

3. Life as I Know It | Minnesota

4. Introduced You To It | Chengdu, China

5. Ellie and Addie | Missouri

6. A Messy Motherhood | Florida

7. Sweet Turtle Soup | Florida

8. Climbing Mama | Washington

9. Chasin' Mason | California

10. Saroy | Texas

11. Non Sequitur Chica | Illinois


12. Luna Chick Runs | Wisconsin

13. Live Inside My Bubble | Wisconsin

14. Peanut Butter Sandwich | Wisconsin
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15. A Gurley Gurl | Texas

16. Cocktails & Carseats | Wisconsin

17. My Married Life | Pennsylvania

18. Piece of Our Life | Georgia
19. Elefanitas Alegras | Texas

Porter is TWO!!

Well, well, well, our 'baby' boy is two (freaking) years old. This fact makes me feel all of the emotions...

-immense pride because I get to be Porter's mom,
-sheer happiness that he is in our lives and so magical,
-contentment with our family unit, Porter as the caboose,
-excitement for what's to come,
-panic that it's all going too fast and I'm not enjoying it enough/remembering enough,
-sadness because how are we never going to have another baby? Another Porter-baby, for that matter?

The last, second birthday has me on a bit of a rollercoaster. But the bottom line is that Porter is two and he is hilarious, and smart, and seriously the best. I'm certain I'll fall short with describing P-man today, but with two full years of monthly posts about our baby, today marks the final one for Porter.

Things you'll hear Porter say frequently:
-I do it. (all.the.time. when I offer to help him down the stairs, sit on a chair, or anything else that a two year old might need assistance with).
-Me, too (if anyone mentions going outside, getting ice cream, etc)
-I afraid. Monsters. Big. Scary. (kind of into a scaredy cat phase).
-NO, CECE!!!!!!!!! (enough said.)

He can name almost any Thomas and Friends train upon asking, even the obscure ones that I barely know. If you look really closely at the trains' faces, you'll see each one is a little bit different with eye shape, noses, mouth, etc. So even in a coloring book, when the engines aren't yet colored, he can somehow tell us which train is which. This is fascinating to me. And it reminds me a lot of Truman at this age. Porter will play with the many train tracks set up in our house, and usually gets into the train zone without any interaction from us for at least twenty minutes at a time. This is huge! I notice that he is pretend playing with the trains now, having each engine talk and say things to each other like 'no! help! stop!. He also likes to lay his ear down on the floor and watch the train wheels move across the tracks---again, something that Truman used to love, too.

Porter also loves construction sites, diggers, and basically any big machine. He often requests to see a  'Bop-cab' which means 'Bobcat', ever since he saw one of the smallish bulldozer things drive past our house. Porter is 100% boy, loving to splash in puddles, dig in the dirt/sand, and hunts for ants/bugs whenever we are outside.

He's a consistent and mostly excellent sleeper: napping for about three hours daily, sleeping for nearly twelve hours at night. Sometimes Porter will wake up around 5am and seems ready to rip for the day but usually I can persuade him to fall back asleep until around 6:30. He also pitches a fit most nights when it's time to go in the crib for bed, mostly because he wants to read a dozen books every evening. P sleeps with his beloved duckie lovey, three Aden and Anais blankets, multiple stuffed animals, a handful of books, two water cups, and at least six trains. He has yet to climb out of his crib and seems pretty comfy in there so I'm not in a rush to get him into a big boy bed just yet. I think his claim to fame for this year must be the fact that Porter stayed awake until 11 pm on the Fourth of July, because he watched his first fireworks. He was in love with them, was not afraid, and clapped at the end after shouting colors at each firework. He napped his usual three hours that day and then somehow lasted until 11pm. CRAZY. He also did not sleep in the next morning, but whatever.

We have another picky eater on our hands, I'm afraid. Porter loves yogurt, mayonnaise on bread, crackers/chips/pretzels, pizza, scrambled eggs, apples, sometimes chicken nuggets, and croutons. That's seriously about it right now! Somehow he is still growing, and I guess we'll find out specific stats in a few more weeks when he has his two year well child check. I'm guessing he is 50% for weight (probably 26#) and 60% for height, but he comfortably wears 2T tops and 24 month bottoms. He absolutely thinned out in the past year and seems to be all little boy and less baby with each passing day. (Dagger in this mama heart!).

Things Porter really hates:
-diaper changes
-getting out of the bathtub
-letting us brush his teeth
-bedtime (most nights)
-riding in a stroller
-having a nap cut short by scheduled activities for siblings
-being told 'no'.

He can name some colors, counts to about five before making up subsequent numbers, definitely cannot recognize letters, but really seems to understand the world around him. This guy might be our class clown of the group and has an amazing 'fake laugh' that always gets T and C to giggle.

On Saturday, July 9th, we threw Porter a (giant) birthday party. We just kept adding more and more of our neighbors to the guest list, figuring that a two year old doesn't actually care about a party 'for him' but we could sure enjoy an outdoor BBQ with our friends anyway. And so we had 54 people come to our party, which caused only a slight amount of stress for me leading up to the big day. We originally wanted to cater out the entire thing, but we ended up only outsourcing the meat for adults and did the rest ourselves (huge props to Tony and Lois, as always, for helping us tremendously!). We had Cajun Pork, BBQ shredded beef and also chicken for our catered meats, then hot dogs for the kids. We had buns, watermelon, a fruit salad, a pasta salad, Lois' famous Asian slaw salad, the best black bean quinoa salad, and baked beans with bags and bags of chips. We went through an absurd amount of beer and I also made Porter's cake this year, along with 48 cupcakes. Porter requested a Thomas cake and literally that was the only thing he mentioned when we talked about his upcoming party. 'My birthday! Thomas cake!!' I searched on Pinterest and found a few doable ideas, and then went to town on Friday night after baking the two circle cakes. It turned out pretty good and Porter was obsessed....with looking at it, at least. He only ate the frosting off his piece, figures.

I was worried about having organized games, since we had over thirty kids above the age of one. The dads took some of the older kids across the street to school for a wicked game of soccer. I pulled out our water balloons and when those 30 were used up in seconds, I let them run wild in the sprinkler. Turns out making it a water party was the best idea and EASY! I did tell the parents to bring suits and comfy clothes and I don't think the kids minded getting soaking wet.

Porter loved hearing everyone sing to him, I wish I had a video of his face. But he did blow out both birthday candles and clapped for himself---a highlight of the night for me. We waited to open his many presents until the next morning, which was a great choice. So much more relaxed and fun to let him take his time with each one, and then only two big kids wanted to 'help' instead of thirty at the party;) All in all it was a wildly successful party and so much fun. We are very lucky to have such fun and amazing friends in our neighborhood, bonus that most could walk home after drinking so much beer! A few pictures...

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His birthday slideshow ended up being over nine minutes long, because I figured out how to add both stills and videos set to music. So yeah, it's long but worth it and as anticipated, it makes me teary to see this past year's Porter highlights flash before my eyes!

Porter is TWO! from Julia H. on Vimeo.

We just love this kid so, so much. Two years old. Wow.

A Day in the Life | Summer 2016

The usual suspects:
Julia is 35
Nate is 34
Truman is 6
Cecelia is 4
Porter will be 2 in nine days
Henry dog is 10.5
Theme of today: we freaking love summertime. So much. All 137 pictures taken found here, really tried to reel it in with posting a million pics this time.

Saturday | July 2, 2016

6:21 am | I wake up on my own accord; no alarm, no kids yelled for me throughout the night, and I just got eight hours of solid sleep. I'm not bragging about this and I hope nobody wants to kill be for reaching the other side of sleep deprivation, but its pretty remarkable how much better life seems with sleep. I have an internal debate about whether or not I should run this morning or wait and go during naptime. I know that if I push it off it's going to be hotter outside and I'll be more tired later on so I should just do it. 

6:30 am | My alarm goes off because I planned to run early last night when I went to bed. I turn it off and whisper to Nate that I'm going to run now. He gives me a hard time about being late, since I usually start actually running at 6:30. But usually on Tuesday and Thursday mornings I have other girls that run with me and today I'm solo, since nobody's schedules lined up this time--so it really doesn't matter when I leave! Except the later I go means more solo parenting for Nate when the kids wake up, hee hee. I tip toe to the bathroom to get dressed, running clothes laid out the night before, and as I sneak downstairs I hear Porter wake up and start to yell. For me. He's yelling, 'MommyMommyMommyMommy' and so I hurry up and get my shoes on. I grab my phone geared up with music, headphones, arm strap, and my running app. I chug some water, take Henry out and set the coffee to go off at 7 o'clock for Nate as a kind gesture in return for his solo parenting as I run alone. 

6:45 am | I leave for my run and as I put Henry back inside I see that Nate and Porter already came downstairs. Yikes! I must get out of dodge ASAP, but tell Nate the coffee is ready to brew in a few minutes. He looks sleepy and ready to have coffee five minutes ago. It's an absolutely beautiful day for a run. I see many bunnies this morning along with several other runners, who are all very friendly and give me a smile and nod.  After about two miles I decide to take a scenic route that I haven't done in a while. It's so pretty with tons of wildflowers and a gravel path that I am forced to take plenty of selfies. And of course somehow I accidentally stop my GPS while taking selfies, but I don't realize this until it hasn't been clocking my run for at least a mile. This is MADDENING to me, now how will I ever know how far I actually went?! Contemplate a positive, energetic mindset for the day and listen to questionable pop music. I think a lot bout Porter's giant birthday party next weekend, because apparently we are having 54 people including 30+ kids over for a BBQ. Deciding about food, cake, managing if it rains...should be fun but also don't want it to be too stressful, since it will be the weekend before we fly to Oregon for a 10 day trip/Nate's brother's wedding. I'm running without my glasses in the mornings lately to see if my eyes can handle it and it's definitely a challenge.

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7:36 | I'm home and try to figure out how far I just ran, based the 50 minutes I was gone I'm guessing 5.5 miles. Maybe longer since I seemed to be running pretty fast (for me) at an 8:45 pace, but regardless it's super annoying that I can't take a screenshot of my GPS. It was a nice run though and it's even nicer to be finished.

7:40 | The kids are eating (Cinnamon Toast Crunch and waffles, Daddy is a push over) and watching Thomas, Nate is messing with XM radio and I convince him to go for a run, too. I want my running partner back, even though running with the girls has been awesome. He says he was showing Porter possible birthday presents on Amazon while I was gone and then Porter freaked out and wouldn't get off of the computer, because he wanted LITERALLY everything. So that's why he had to turn Thomas on the TV. This makes me giggle because I totally get it, and have been letting Porter watch Thomas when he wakes before the big kids, too. Pour coffee and cool off, Nate leaves for his run, unload dishwasher, kill a few rage-inducing ants on the cabinets, check email, glasses go on. CC is spinning with Batman.

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8:00 am | CC is now crying because I won't go outside with her yet, but I need to eat. Make scrambled ham and eggs for me and her because she requests eggs and I know she won't eat them, plus a 1/2 English muffin for me. Yum.

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8:15 am | We eat, I share with porter. Truman is into shooting nerf guns and "accidentally" keeps shooting CC's foot. Her McDonald's glasses are hilarious but T won't try them on so CC cries. I decide to try watching Porter's two year slide show with kids to see if I can work our smart TV. Watch 3 times in a row, dance, Nate comes home to the house shaking. Kids love it!
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8:45 am | The big kids get dressed, P is playing trains and is uninterested in his slideshow now. Twirling with CC and says, "Mommy, you smell like string cheese." Gross. Porter wants batteries in trains. Nate calls his parents to discuss the mega-Costco endeavor, they sometimes come with us on our membership and I think they want to come today. "Porter pooped. Daddy smells better than poop." Thank you, Cecelia.

8:55 am | I shower and suggest Nate handles the poop situation, not sure he has changed a poop diaper in a week or more. It's time.

9:10 am | I get ready. Blow dry hair because of the quandrom with my hair length. I have no problem pulling it all up into a wet bun but then my scalp itches, so I blow it dry and see how much I want to chop it off. Every day that desire varies;) Pluck one white, short, wiry hair and contemplate getting highlights someday. Sweating. Decide to curl my hair to give it the best chance of liking it today. I hear Nate roughhousing with the kids saying, 'If you mess with the bull you get the horns.' Laughter ensues and Truman screams, 'I'm messing with the bullllllll!' They are g
etting their shoes on and Nate bought Truman his first pair of shoes that actually tie. Now Nate must to try to teach him how to tie his shoes.

9:30 am | Go down to do makeup, take selfies. Clean up the kitchen and pack bag for Costco.  Everyone outside to play and wait for Tony and Lois.

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10:00|  They are here. Nate and I review the mega-list and we discuss with Lois that we'll be catering the birthday party this year. Just too much to make a million sides and stand over the grill (for Nate) the entire time with 50+ people. We've never catered for a party so this involves much debate. I think it's the best bet though and hopefully less stress. Did I mention that it better not rain that day. 

10:20 am | We all pile in van for Costco, Truman wants me to be the adult in the third row with him. I'm pretty nauseated in very back and demand extra air back there, should probably also stop typing these notes on my phone while bouncing up and down. We discuss the drive to Chicago, when all seven of us will be in this van plus an absurd amount of luggage, when we fly out for the wedding. This entire DiTL will likely be much discussion about Porter's party and then the wedding trip, both big events coming up soon!

(third row riders)
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10:38 am | We arrive at Costco, the mother land!!! So many beer choices and my ultimate favorite in the world is there boasting a pretty good deal, Ballast Point 18 pack for $35. Not bad considering a 6 pack at the grocery store is $14 or something! The samples are on point today, with the unanimous pick being a sorbet that served inside of a fruit shell. Amazing. Text Brittany about getting our nails done for the wedding. Porter is a chocolate disaster.

Also spilled lemonade on his crotch with the very first sample.
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One potty break, guaranteed every trip.
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Sorbet lovers.
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We check out and pay $325 for our load which is not the highest it's ever been, Tony and Lois pay $200 for their much smaller load. Costco loves us. Lunch at the snack bar consists of their amazing smoothies and pizza. CC has two highly whiny moments about needing water and then wanting to go home. Porter is saying "no" to everything and I get it on video. We talk about how Truman is now answering 'whatever' to us as a snotty response and  Nate says, "You know where he gets that from?" (Pause for effect) "From the one wearing a pink shirt and glasses." He's looking at me but doesn't realize that applies to both of us! Hahaha, joke is on him.

I mean...
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12:40 pm | We load the van, head out, and my phone is on 8%. Apparently we need gas and it's crazy hot in the third row as Nate pumps, OMG. Surrounded by bulk food, I'm trapped. Truman is wiggling his loose tooth and asks me to help out, when I see that his new big tooth is already through the gums behind the baby tooth. So weird!!

(notable amazing cloud moment, me in the back with our haul, and the extra tooth)
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12:50 pm | We are leaving for real this time. Cecelia throws a Lego at Truman in the back and is generally grumpy. I tickle Porter's face while Nate's driving, and we are talking about work stuff with Tony and Lois.

1:10 pm | Home. Try to help unload but Porter needs to go down for a nap stat. Truman comes up to the nursery to help me calm down his brother, without me asking for help. Truman is handing P trains and is asking if that's what Porter wants. My helpful six year old hates to hear his brother cry. I also get him to fill Henry's water bowl, while Porter is sobbing in his crib. I'll give it a minute then go up again. Tony and Lois take their stuff and leave.

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1:25 pm | Nate and I are unloading groceries. CC is circling things in an American Girl magazine that just came in the mail, she seems to be very focused on this task. Truman is getting dessert (fruit snacks) and I run upstairs to snuggle Porter since he's still fussing. Very bad decision, as it made him extremely angry this time. Sigh. I help Nate put away the groceries, creating room for this gigantic haul. I transfer old mayo to new giant vat of mayo. Throw away leftovers that the kids didn't eat the other night. "All they want to do is waste our money and food, just toss it."  Lol, okay Nate. Ports is asleep by 1:35, my tired guy.

1:50 pm | Cecelia and I are looking at magazines, I'm thinking of a zoo class for Porter. Text my friend Katie about it, since I don't understand if you sign up for a one time deal or for a bunch of days in a month. CC is circling literally everything for going on 20 min, saying 'this, and this, and this, and this'. Nate watches golf on TV and Truman starts his iPad time. I get the sweetest email from Memaw. Nate wants to go to driving range and I make him take a selfie to demo our dual "glasses and pink shirts." There are several fails at this attempt. Bye!

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2:00 pm | Uh-oh, I'm tired. Coffee or nap? It's a very important decision but I decide on coffee, because I must keep moving. Fold laundry (that I just fluffed in the dryer from yesterday) and reluctantly start another load. CC starts the Kindle watching Powerpuff Girls. Truman is watching Skykanders family on You Tube. Play Coldplay through the Apple TV, really into them again.

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2:30 pm | Okay, laundry is folded, time for an IG check and a post, then I make my iced coffee. Too much for just me but not enough for a second full cup. Hmm, save some in fridge but doubt Nate will approve of how I mixed. Decide to do a coat of polyurethane on table. Without changing my clothes or taking it outside, I feel very rebellious,
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2:50 pm | Done. Rinse brushes and decide to store my homemade darker gray in an old sample container. Rinse that, too. I love painting furniture but kind of hate the clean up part.

3:00 pm | I want to start on this post after ordering a few prints online at Walgreens for a birthday present tomorrow. A four year old's dream gift (I hope!) : a new Caboodle full of random crap like pictures, Chapstick, tattoos, tic tacs, stickers, bandaids, sanitizer, etc. Cecelia lost her mind over it when I came home with the gift so that's a good sign. Making the 
picture prints of Cecelia and Natalie, whose birthday party it is tomorrow. 

3:10 pm | I officially start this post. T is now laying his head by me and he's getting more than his 1 hour of iPad time today but whatever. (Whatever!) Break for a snack at 3:30 for both me and the kids---favorite popcorn in all of the land, plus a granola bar for them. IG again. Keep working on the post.

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4:00 pm | CC says she she wants to 'circle more stuff in that magazine, because I'm afraid I forgot some stuff.' Nate gets home and does have the remainder of coffee. He and Cecelia go through the American Girl magazine and he asks, 'So what exactly didn't you circle?"

4:15 pm | Porter is crying, I guess that was a pretty good nap at nearly three hours. Make Truman get off the iPad finally, his brain must be fried. 

Porter is fa-reaking out, like he's in pain or something, completely hysterical. I offer him food and he throws a whole pack of graham crackers down the stairs and they shatter every where. I hear a train outside and rushing him to the driveway to get a better listen is the only thing that snaps him out of this horrible tantrum. Once he's calm and listening to the train he tells me that he's afraid of the birds. Maybe a bad dream? He agrees to take a little walk with me and the rest of the family comes out to participate, but then Porter gets angry again. He decides he will ride in the Bob but won't walk or ride his tricycle, and we all head to the school playground. Inspecting the school's awesome vegetable garden is a savior for this excursion, makes P very happy to see the veggies. CC is pretending like her foursquare ball is her baby and get Porter to play along for a bit. Porter wants his shoes off and then realizes wood chips hurt too bad. Nate and Truman are playing basketball and then I join in. A grand old time, really.

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5:35 pm | Come home just as Tony And Lois are pulling up to the house. We all get dinner ready. Kids in various degrees of exhaustion/meltdown/hunger.

6:00 pm | Dinner is served, with some amazing new veggie burgers from Costco, baked beans, chips and fruit. OH, and my fave beer ever (Ballast Point Sculpin). Discuss our different running paths from this morning, beer, the wedding, our dentist, cement mixers and Ninja Turtles. Also, Truman just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and was able to watch a bit of the movie at school, but has been asking to see the entire thing. Nate looks it up and sees the movie on Netflix so we decide to be super fun parents and treat them to a movie after dinner (rarity).
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6:20 pm | We start the movie, I clean up with Tony and Lois, Nate watches the movie with the kids. We talk about our dentist again and then (gigantic, expensive) house projects we want to do. I know new windows, stripping and repainting ALL of our exterior siding/trim, and a new roof will be worth it but the price tag is staggering. Actually have only gotten a quote for the windows and that was ridiculous since we have 33 of the buggers in our house, somehow. But still! Talking to Lois about it all because they have a super old home, too, and have done so many of the bigger projects through the years and 'get it'. But they also tend to DIY most of the projects and I just don't think we have the time or energy to repaint our house for seven summers in a row. We watch the movie with the rest of the crew once the kitchen is back to normal.

7:20 pm | Turn off the movie at the halfway point (only Augustus has left the group, through the chocolate river of course). Pajamas and teeth brushed, Tony says he will take the boys to get haircuts later this week because he needs one, too. We all take turns trying to pull T's tooth but no luck!

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7:40 pm | Tony and Lois leave and we take kids upstairs for bedtime! I read two books to Porter and tonight it's a group effort. Cecelia declares, "Police are great, they save the day," as she makes up the words to books for Porter. Truman is highly annoyed by Cecelia making up words to books, my rule follower cannot deal with interpretive reading. Cecelia is now crying because I said she can't go back downstairs to retrieve more toys. Porter requested Itsy Bitsy Spider as his song tonight, I wish you could hear how he says that song title. Cecelia is crying because she wants to sing to Porter, and when she finally does it she's whispering to him. Also of note: Sparky the Horse is being pulled from room to room, rather aggressively.
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8:05 pm | Goodnight, sweet Porter P. Nate sings to the big kids and nobody listens, Nate wonders why he bothers. Cecelia grabs multiple stuffed animals before climbing into bed. Truman's eyes are closing as Nate finishes up the songs. CC is arguing that Truman always wakes her up in the morning when she wants to sleep in, I threaten to separate them into different bedrooms if this constant bickering about who wakes up first continues. Nate just installed a new lightbulb in the kids room and announces it will last for twenty years, I am highly doubtful about this longevity.  "Peace out, Boy Scouts," says Nate as he walks out of their room.

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8:10 pm | It's my turn to tell stories and I try to r
ecap our day in a funny way. "And then we spent hundreds of dollars at Costco, and had a delicious lunch, then Cecelia circled 500 things to buy from American Girl". We discuss pancakes versus bacon tomorrow, Nate is golfing super early so I want to wait on pancakes until we can enjoy as a family. Okay, goodnight, children!!!

8:15 pm | I head downstairs and Nate is showering. I change the laundry and decide to do one more coat of poly. Slam a few Reese's Pieces and get to painting. Text Hannah about a possible couples weekend in fall. Really into it.

8:30 pm | I rinse the brushes and Nate is magically getting us both beers. I love that man. Sit outside on the patio with beer, a music speaker, citronella candle, and absolutely gorge weather. Note Porter is awake and has thrown all of his trains out of the crib. Discuss this trip with Nate at length plus the fact that today was awesome and we adore summer.

(Nate's head is NOT on fire, don't worry).
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9:10 pm | I'm getting eaten alive, citronella be damned. Head in and upload pics to Flickr. How can I be hungry after a huge dinner? This is the time of night I could eat and eat. Return emails instead of eating, upload 134 pics to Flickr. A new low for a ditl! Watch a 48 hrs about a wife that murdered her husband. Why do I always get sucked into these shows? (No pun about me murdering Nate necessary).

10:00 pm | Nate goes up and wipes off my Carmex from his lips when he kisses me goodnight. He says it's excessive but also says 'what a great the life.' Perfect quote, Nate! I'm waiting on a few more pics then I'll go up, too.

10:25 pm | The pictures are uploaded, so I close up shop and turn off the lights before heading upstairs to get ready for bed. I'm really tired now but I did get to return four emails and start this post but I suppose the time was well spent. It really was an excellent, typical, mundane day but I'm not sure it reads this way. 
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And that ends this summer's DiTL! You have about a week to link up with your own post, so get to it. ;)
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