July Recap + What I’m Looking Forward to in August

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It’s time for another monthly update! Here’s a peek at our past four weeks (plus a peek ahead at the month of August)!

I honestly considered not doing a recap this month, since it feels like I just did our June recap!! July passed so quickly and a lot of it got mentioned in Sophie’s 9 month update. But, I do love journaling about our life this way and I don’t want to let the month slide by without acknowledgement. 🙂 So, without further adieu, here’s what we’ve been up to!

July Recap:

90th birthday party for Grandpa Howard. I technically included this in our June recap, but on July 1st, there was a very large family party for Bjorn’s grandfather. I’m glad he got to feel celebrated and appreciated that day. 90 is a great milestone!

4th of July. It was Sophie’s first 4th of July! The 4th is also my half-birthday – not that I really celebrate my half-birthday, but it’s still a fun time of year. 🙂 No fireworks for us this year; 10 pm is just a bit too late for Sophie’s bedtime. However, we did spend a nice evening with family that was in town, enjoying a summery supper of brats, fruit salad, and more, before it was time to head home!

My Bible study wrapped up. I’ve mentioned this Bible study before, in our June recap. I participated in a Bible study this summer called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer, and I really enjoyed it! It was a step out of my comfort zone, to sign up at a church in the area that we don’t attend, and I didn’t know anyone in the study before signing up. It worked out so well, though! It was a blessing to meet some new friends, and have great discussions and teaching. I’d be interested in taking another study by Priscilla. Her video teaching sessions were so inspiring, convicting, and full of biblical truths.

The Bible study was also special because it was Sophie’s first experience being taken care of by people other than family! Sophie spent 2 hours every Thursday morning playing in the nursery with the nursery helpers and with other babies/toddlers! She had a blast every week and I’ve been so proud of her! I love being home with Sophie every day and while I think it’s important (and healthy!) that she and I have a close bond, it’s been a good experience for her to hang out with others and realize it’s totally fine and fun to be away from Mama sometimes!

Some summer fun with family. From things like getting ice cream and campfires to swimming, I’m loving these sweet summer activities that we’re checking off of our bucket list!

Dinner theatre with Jordan and Alex! Bjorn and I love double dating with our friends Jordan and Alex!! (You’d recognize Jordan because she has guest posted here on the blog a bit!)

We get to double date with Jordan and her husband a couple times a year, and it’s always so much fun! We all have a lot in common and one of the things we enjoy doing together is attending the dinner theatre! We went to the show “Newsies” this summer, and Jordan’s mom had picked up Newsies teddy bears from the gift shop for Sophie, and for Jordan and Alex’s girls! Sophie is obsessed with her Newsies bear!! 🙂 What a special night!

Sophie’s first eye appointment. I already brought this up in Sophie’s 9 month update. The eye appointment was just a preventative measure, since my eyes are pretty bad (I’m a -7.00). We wanted to take Sophie in and make sure her eyes were doing okay thus far, and they are!

I got a haircut! I’m usually in the haircut-twice-a-year crowd, but this year, it may end up being 3 times. I’m not big into treating myself all the time, but my postpartum hair has not been as much fun as my pregnancy hair was (haha! oh well..), so it felt nice to freshen up with a cut and new color.

We went on our Branson trip! 

^^ Sophie was so pleased to get a banana at the hotel’s breakfast downstairs! 🙂 ^^

So the reason we went to Branson, Missouri, is because a time share company (Holiday Inn Express) contacted us. We’ve done this before; we were actually contacted by a different time share company, Bluegreen Vacations, last August – which resulted in us visiting the Wisconsin Dells. We enjoyed our time in Branson, aside from the morning of the time share presentation. Holiday Inn Express didn’t do a very nice job, and it honestly made us like the time share company that we interacted with at the Dells in 2017 even more! (PS – we’re not looking seriously for a time share. These companies just like to contact us, apparently. We’re always up front with them but they really want people to stay with them, and we’re willing to go and learn about it.)

We were honestly expecting Branson to be more like the Dells – more waterparks, more scenic outings…but especially more swimming. It ended up being more music tribute shows and other touristy things, but it was still a fun family vacation! Sophie is a great traveler and good at going with the flow all day!

Nighttime on a trip is harder, though, since we’re all out of our routine and Sophie is then sleeping in the same room as us, and wakes more frequently.

Our favorite things about Branson were the Old Time photos (I’ll share a couple below!), the Titanic Museum (super well done), and wandering the historic downtown area where we got to explore interesting shops like a dinosaur/fossil store!

^^ Isn’t she beautiful?! I can’t handle how adorable this photo is. ^^

^^ I couldn’t help smiling even though Bjorn told me that was historically inaccurate, haha.. ^^

^^ The life-size replica of the Titanic! I had to face a fear of mine – I don’t usually like learning about sinking ships! – but it was such a cool museum, and a meaningful tribute to the lives that were lost. ^^

On our road trip down to Branson, we had the gift of staying with a blog friend of mine! Lauren (from Sobremesa Stories) and her husband were so kind to offer to host us overnight! It was such a blessing, and it was a lot of fun to get to know each other’s families in person! 🙂 Don’t you just love it when online friendships intersect with real life?!

On the way home, we stopped by a battlefield that Bjorn hadn’t seen yet. It was Sophie’s first battlefield. 🙂 We bought her a stuffed deer that she loved at the gift shop.

Our town celebrated Horse & Buggy Day. This is a neat one-day event each summer where there are activities in the park, a street dance, a parade, buggy rides (of course), and more! One of the ongoing things for Horse & Buggy Day is city-wide garage sales! Since Bjorn had to be out of town for army and I really wanted to sell some of our stuff, my mom graciously came down to help with a garage sale! It was the first garage sale I’ve ever done, and I’d say it was a success! I certainly didn’t prep like crazy for it, haha – so I’m grateful we were able to quickly organize items to sell, label them, and get them outside on that Saturday morning! We made over $100, which was nice! The only downside was a guy who was talking to me after he purchased something, asking me if we have nice things in our house, and then he proceeded to ask me if my husband and I work a lot during the day. Really?! (Insert eye roll here..) So creepy. Good thing I’m ultra-cautious and paranoid. I know exactly what he looks like and I know his license plate. I don’t know his name but I’ll be on alert just in case. Anyone else extra paranoid like me?

Anyway. We had a great time! My mom and Sophie and I got to see the parade that day, and it was Sophie’s first-ever parade! She loved the horses, naturally. She loves all animals!

^^ Hugs from Grandma! Actually, hugs from Sophie; I caught this photo when Sophie herself leaned into my mom and gave her a snuggly hug! It was too precious. ^^

Hanging out with friends! Sophie and I got to meet up with my friend Courtney and her sweet Finley for lunch and ice cream!

And later in the month, my friend Jordan and her girls came to visit! It’s so fun to share this sweet season of life with friends – and I just love getting to know my friends’ babies, too!

Our county fair! I look forward to the county fair every year. Bjorn and I always enter photos in the fair and I suppose you can say Bjorn and I have a healthy dose of competition with each other by this point, haha! For the second year in a row, Bjorn has beat me for Grand Champion in amateur photography! So now I’m officially married to an award-winning photographer. 😉 Way to go, Bjorn! I got a Reserve Champion ribbon for a black & white photo I entered. Here are the ribbons and photos from this year at the fair:

^^ The 3 photos on the right (top right, middle right, and bottom right) are Bjorn’s! ^^

Sophie thoroughly enjoyed her first-ever fair! She is becoming more and more obsessed with animals every day! It’s the cutest thing – to see her bounce and squeal and giggle when she sees an animal she likes! Her favorites are puppies and horses.

We took Sophie to the rodeo event on the final night of the fair. We weren’t totally sure how it’d go for her, since the event itself didn’t even start until 7:30 pm (aka, Sophie’s bedtime!). But she did an amazing job and she really enjoyed herself! She got excited when the crowd was cheering, and she definitely spotted the horses during events like barrel racing. I had picked up some sound-cancelling headphones for Sophie the week before, knowing we could use them at loud events, and they worked quite well. She kept them on the majority of the time. It was a special, sweet family memory to get to go to the rodeo together!

^^ at the rodeo! ^^

Celebrated Sophie being on the outside as long as she was on the inside. On July 24, Sophie was out as long as she was in! Can you believe it? We snapped a photo to compare. 🙂

Eating healthy (healthier). After a trip, it’s always nice to get back into a more established healthy eating pattern. We do like to have fun meals or treats when we’re traveling (and sometimes when you just have to get home, you grab a burger to go), but once we’re home, I like to start planning healthier meals again. I’ve been really into salads lately. My meal planning sessions consist of brainstorming and looking up new salads or grain bowls to try. I’ve been loving quinoa a lot this summer!

^^ Moroccan Quinoa Power Salad. This salad is so so good! I’ve made it a couple times already, since recently discovering this recipe! ^^

But! You can’t go through summer without a few batches of yummy cobbler. This peach cobbler recipe is my new favorite dessert!! I serve it warm, with vanilla bean frozen yogurt. So so good!

What I’m Looking Forward to in August:

Bjorn’s sister, Amy, and her husband Tyler are expecting a baby in August! Their baby girl will be Sophie’s first cousin, and we can’t wait to meet her!

More summer fun: times with friends, playing outside, and taking Sophie swimming! We have to soak up the beautiful summer weather before winter sneaks up on us again!

^^ Even strolling through the farm goods store, looking for mulch, is a good time to Sophie! She is just too fun. ^^

Hopefully working on a new blogging-related project! I’m full of ideas – now I just need to sit down and start working on it!

What a great month! I’m looking forward to an enjoyable last month of summer. What are you looking forward to in August??

In the meantime, if you like seeing more day-to-day life, such as cute Sophie videos, what meals we’re eating, and more – then you’ll have to follow along with us on Instagram! 🙂

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