Time has a different cadence in summer. With the different pace and long days, we are enjoying more brightness, fullness, growth, activity, bugs and people in our life every day this summer.

In accordance with the passing of time, this summer we are celebrating several milestone birthdays … we celebrated my sister Amy’s 30th birthday by taking a whole Barmann Family trip to the Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, MO. There were many special events during the weekend that we were lucky to take part in. One of the highlights for Max was driving the pontoon boat that we took out on the lake. Max also chugged some sasparilla, but that deserves its own entry in this journal.  Gracie and Max are so lucky to get to know Amy as their special Aunt. Amy reminded us often that she is getting old, but also told me that she’s still too young to get married.

Grace turned 4 a few days after Amy’s 30th. Grace was thrilled to have a little segment of Amy’s birthday weekend dedicated to her with a very fancy brunch including a personalized cake and presents. We then had a little family party for her, on her actual birthday, where she got to choose the dinner and dessert – her choice was cheeze pizza at Dewey’s and cupcakes that we had fun making together. We continued celebrating the weekend after her birthday when Ellen and Grandma, Papa and Amy came to our house. We had an outdoor bounce-house party planned but rerouted to Build-a-Bear due to weather. Grace had her dearest friends at the party – Emmy, Joe and Olivia Robson and Lillian Folkl. The girls all made sparkly purple bears and Joe made a fly-fishing turtle. There were more presents from Grandma and Papa and Ellen when we got home from the party! We will take time over the end of the summer and into fall to enjoy all of it.

We still have more birthdays to celebrate this summer – Aunt Missy will turn 23 next week. Grace and her friends are still struggling with the notion that someone younger than you will never catch up in age. When Lillian realized that Grace was turning 4, she asked “but will I be 5 before her?” I still struggle with this when I think about Missy, especially since we look somewhat alike. She’s always going to look younger, fitter and more fun. I just hope people know she is twelve years younger than me and not that I am just an old looking 24 year old with two kids. Ahh, the passage of time. My kids are lucky to have an aunt who will always be hipper than their parents.

A few weeks after Missy’s birthday we will celebrate our niece and nephew’s first birthday and their mom, Alli’s, birthday, on the same day. We won’t be with them in person on that day, but will celebrate when we are with them a week later when we meet in Michigan. We are all so thankful that Grace and Max have Addie and Nolan as cousins and that they are developing into happy and very healthy little ones. Addie and Nolan are learning the MIT fight song (is it really a fight song, do they have sports teams at MIT?). Grace has asked me to sing it to her but all I can remember is that it includes the word secant. I’m not even sure they taught about secants at KSU. Both kids really enjoyed being around their cousins on our trip to Big Cedar Lodge.

Besides celebrating birthdays this summer, we’re also catching a lot of lightening bugs, we’ve found one frog so far, we’ve been doing a lot of swimming at the Kirkwood Pool, I’ve been taking the kids out on my bike many evenings and we have used our backyard for a few parties. It is fun to watch Max and Grace learn new things — they get older every minute. Max is getting more and more courageous in the pool and Grace is a little fish. We’re thankful for the light and long days, the opportunities to explore, spend time with friends and family, and for our health.