Well friends, the signs are all around us- leaves crunching underfoot, the crisp morning air, Halloween costumes in Costco- fall has arrived, and that means it’s time to officially say farewell to summer.
This is always a bittersweet time for me, as summer is my favorite season- I love the freedom to stay up late and enjoy time with friends, the relaxation that comes from having fewer obligations, and the opportunities to explore that the longer days and school breaks afford us.
Of course, there are things to look forward to in fall too, most especially the opportunity to dive into my stash of sweater knits, fleeces and french terries to make cozy new tops, dresses and leggings in rich autumn hues to celebrate the season.
Before I start in on my long list of fall sewing goals, however, I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to wrap up my summer adventure series, and share with you a few things we’ve been doing to make those dwindling summer evenings last as long as possible (since google tells me the first official day of Fall isn’t until September 23rd!).
When I last left off, we were leaving Dinosaur National Monument, and getting ready to head over to Moab and Arches National Park (missed some of the series? Catch Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV on the blog!).
Noah was sporting a new cast, and we were all humbled and amazed by the opportunity to touch real dinosaur bones, and see our own lives in such a broader evolutionary perspective (ok, maybe that was just me- the kids just thought posing in front of Dinos was cool).
Arches and Moab
The next leg of our journey took us over the Colorado border into Utah, where we were met by the stark natural beauty of Arches National Park. We camped in Moab, just outside Arches, at the local KOA.
It was burning hot, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway, surviving on a daily diet of frozen yogurt and pool time. In the early mornings and cooler evenings, we took the time to explore the desert, hiking to Broken Arch and Delicate Arch (I’m wearing my Nikita tank– and Sophia did so well, making most of the 3 mile walk on her own two feet in her patriotic Melanie dress).
A highlight of our visit was the 4×4 U-drive sunset jeep tour of the desert, on which my husband drove all 3 kids all over Moab, crawling over rocks and essentially creating their own roller coaster ride.
See how much fun he’s having? I swear the kids had fun too.
Where was I during this event? Hiking the Fiery Furnace with a ranger guide, a special hike that is available only by lottery or advance admission, and which I was incredibly lucky to score a ticket to at the last minute. Hearing the kids’ stories of the stunts on the jeep tour, I know my Fiery Furnace ticket was heaven sent- there’s no way I would have wanted to be on the jeep- give me a hike through narrow slot canyons at 101 degrees any day!
On our last day in Moab, our truck actually broke down, meaning we couldn’t leave our campsite. Do you know how impossible it is to get a mechanic on Sunday in Utah? Pretty. Darn. Impossible. Being the incredibly handy guy he is, my husband pulled up a youtube tutorial to help him diagnose and replace the Alternator, and we were off within the day, sweaty and frustrated, but glad to be heading back to….DENVER!
Back to Denver
That’s right, as I mentioned briefly in my previous post, we had purchased a new trailer when we were there previously, and needed to return to pick it up!
This was NOT part of our original travel plan, but an exciting development nonetheless. Our new rig is a Momentum 395m Toy Hauler- an upgrade that affords us a second half bath (no more stepping on each other’s toes while brushing our teeth for bed!), a flexible rear space for bikes/gear, and a wonderful patio for enjoying the landscapes around us.
There are also a dozen other small but wonderful things that were different- like the opportunity to have a full sewing space in place of one of the couches, and a residential size refrigerator, so we didn’t have to grocery shop every 2.3 days, and a massive storage space under the master bed for all the fabric I had accumulated on our trip. We the better part of a day frantically moving things from one trailer to the other, which felt like a moving an entire house on fast forward. I think I got in 10K steps without even trying that day.
Zion National Park
Once this was done, we were free to move onto Zion National Park, where we relaxed and spent an entire week just relaxing and enjoying being in one spot. We stayed at the Zion River Resort, a wonderful little RV park that we’ve visited previously, and the kids enjoyed making new friends, playing in the river, and hiking Zion with me.
We’ve been to Zion before, but the boys were too young to hike the Narrows, but this time, they were more than up for the challenge!
We rented the poles, shoes and socks. Noah is wearing his Peekaboo rashguard (blogged here), and I’m wearing the one and only swimsuit I managed to make for myself this summer (details below!)
I was seriously so proud of these guys. I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but they’re just fantastic kids.
I even managed to get another solo evening to myself so I could hike up to Angel’s Landing- a bit of a heart stopper, but completely worth it for the spectacular views (wearing a Lille tank and Super G leggings- blogged here).
St. George, Utah
After Zion, we spent a couple nights in St. George. The people there were some of the friendliest we met on our entire trip, and by the end of our two days I was ready to move there permanently, they were so welcoming.
We visited the Mormon Temple (the third built in the United States, and the only one still operational!), caught an impressive rendition of the Sound of Music at the Tuacahn Amphitheater, and even picked some peaches!
Wrapping it up in Las Vegas, baby!
All too soon, it was time to leave St. George and move onto the last official destination of our trip- Las Vegas! Las Vegas was especially exciting, because not only did we have tickets to see “O” by Cirque du Soliel, but we also had the chance to meet up with some sewing friends from the area!
This was organized by Beth of Real Moms Who Sew and Selfie, and was such a fantastic time. Sophia developed a special connection to Beth’s daughter Jill, who was pretty much the best babysitter ever, according to my daughter, and her husband even got our dog Ellie to swim for the first time!
In this photo, I’m wearing the only swimsuit I made this summer (which of course, never got photographed and blogged properly- I was too busy wearing it!)- a Jalie Pika Top from Fabric Fairy camo swim material and So Sew English mesh, and Jalie Gigi bottoms (you can’t really see them, but trust me they’re there!).
It was a wonderful way to wrap up our trip, and while we were sad to have to head home, I was also busy thinking about how to incorporate some of the summer joys into our daily lives during the school year. To be honest, we contemplated (and are still considering) traveling full time for a while, but until that happens, it was important to me to reflect on what made our summer special, and how we could do more of it at home.
This boiled down to three changes I wanted to make to our routine:
- Take advantage of local recreational opporutnities. Its so easy to miss out because things “don’t fit our schedule”- but with a little flexibilty, we can enjoy many local events.
- Celebrate our roots. Take more time to connect with friends and family at home- by asking people over for dinner, attending church regularly, and reaching out to make new connections as the opportunities arise.
- Lighten up. Sometimes I take our lives a bit too seriously when we’re home, and get overwhelmed by all the obligations, many of which I’ve put on myself. By being willing to “let go” a bit, I think we can all have a little more fun.
To get started on these goals, one of the first things we did as a family was start attending the local farmer’s market together every week (sometimes twice a week!). The kids enjoy playing and meeting new friends, helping me pick out ingredients for our dinners, and we all get some exercise as we typically ride there on bikes from our house.
Our downtown park also sports a big splash pad/fountain, and since Sophia had spent the entire summer wearing an increasingly worn store bought swimsuit (the only thing making me cringe in the photos above!), I decided to make her a couple new ones.
One of her new activities this fall is also swimming lessons, so these were especially needed.
She helped me pick out the fabrics (the Teal/pink is from Boho fabrics, and the purple is from Fabric Fairy), insisted on at least one with “ruffles”, and inside of a couple afternoons, she had two brand new suits to wear on our local outings, as we all work to soak up those last rays of warm sunshine before we’re met with the winter rains.
I love seeing her this happy! Let’s make summer last a little bit longer, shall we?
I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to travel this summer, and to share it with you along the way. Here’s the complete map of our travels, for those that are curious (or want to follow a similar route!)
Thank you for reading through this series! I’d love to hear what you thought- did you enjoy it? Would you like to see more travel themed posts in the future?
Check out the other sewists on the tour!
Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on the tour for their take on saying goodbye to summer!
A personal note…
Finally, before I wrap up this post, I want to take a minute to acknowledge some of the events of the past week that have taken place on social media. For those of you that left supportive comments on my last post, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I began this blog with the goal of encouraging, supporting and inspiring others, and it warms my heart every time I see someone make a sports bra or pair of leggings with the assistance of a sewalong that I’ve posted, or attempts a new technique or pattern because they were inspired to do so by a post. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the online sewing community, and while I’ve been deeply hurt by recent events, I still count myself lucky to be a part of such an empowering, caring group of people, in which I am constantly challenged to learn more about myself, and to celebrate the beauty and diversity of others. Thank you for continuing to read and support this blog, and each other!