The rest of the summer

Wow, the wedding was fun!  It all went off without a hitch and during the whole evening everywhere it seemed like people were having a good time. It was an amazing atmosphere, and Jared and Erika just shone joy the whole day.  It was wonderful.

Here’s a shot of the seating area, all ready for the guests to arrive.  It was such a pretty venue.  After the ceremony, kids had a lovely time running up and down the hill you can see in the distance.  And there were blankets spread in the shade of trees for extra seating during the wedding and the reception.

Waiting for the guests

Then here’s a picture of the area where the reception was– the kids did such a great job decorating.  Everything really came together, even the weather.  A couple weekends before the wedding, we were having temperatures in the 100’s.  But on the Saturday of the wedding the high was 87, which by evening in the shade of all those trees was just perfect for an outdoor summer wedding.

The Reception


Saturday evening after the wedding we all sat around in the living room for a long time talking about what a fun party it had been, not quite wanting it to be over yet.  Nevermind that it was 1:30 in the morning.

Sunday we ran around returning all the various things that we’d borrowed for the festivities.  And then Monday and Tuesday night I worked, which meant Tuesday and Wednesday during the day was taken up with sleeping.  So today, really, is the first day since the wedding that I feel like I’m truly off.

Today the older teens are all working, and the youngest two have a friend over to play– streams of giggles are coming from the bedroom. So I am sitting here blogging and making lists of things I need to do during this last part of the summer before our Ethiopia trip. We leave in 26 days, people!  I am so excited!

I already found five 32″ soft-sided bags for our checked luggage for the grand price of $14 each at  They are GINORMOUS, and they even have wheels. I doubt we’ll bring enough clothing to fill a whole bag per person– more likely two people’s clothes will fit in one bag.  But we are bringing a few things to and from Ethiopia for other people, so extra space is good.  And if we don’t need all 5 all the time, each duffel can be zipped tiny compact square, to easily tuck into another bag.

Besides the big bags, we’ll each have one carry-on– most likely backpacks.  One backpack each and one wheeled bag each will, I hope, be a reasonable amount to tote for everyone.

I’m especially interested in traveling light because of all the moving around we’ll be doing.  We’ll be gone a total of 16 days, of which three are flying and four are driving to outlying areas.  So that’s 7 days on the move.  Definitely a reason not to overpack.

I don’t want to bring my computer, so I (mini)splurged on a tablet– a  Toshiba Encore  that my computer-guru son spoke highly of.  I’m excited to get it and play with it.  I also got an earbud splitter to make it easier for multiple kids to watch movies together on planes.  Oh, I love traveling!

In other news (despite the fact that I just spent 5 minutes talking about things I bought for our trip, lol) I’m still working on paring down things that we own in general.  This afternoon Tomorrow I’m going through drawers in my bathroom.  It’s funny how I can go literally weeks without opening a drawer, and yet it is still hard to coax myself to toss things that I haven’t used in months.  I paid good money for them, after all!  But I’m reminding myself that this fact should not earn them a forever place in my drawers or my home.

I am also eager to do some cleaning in our garage.  Except there is where I’ve stashed all the extra dishes I’m saving for our 4 older teens.  All hope to move out in the next couple years, and I’d like to start them out with a few dishes each, to make the move more affordable.  So there the dishes sit.

Also in the garage are lots of 8mm and VHS movies from when our kids were little, which I’d like to get onto digital files.  I bought the gadget months ago, but then never got around to taking the time.   So there’s another project to add to my list.

I guess that’s all I have for you today.  I’m off to the store to stock up the empty fridge, and then I’m taking these giggly girls to the library.  Should be fun!  How’s your summer coming along?


  1. I bet one of those teens would love $20 to move those tapes to dad! My kids love jobs like that.

  2. I have one if those Walmart bags. They serve a purpose, and are very cheap, but it is a case of you get what you pay for. I’d load one up full and have everyone test rolling and carrying it. It doesn’t roll all that well and can be very heavy when full. Younger teens and even some adults might have trouble managing. I also tore out the end handle (the one to pull to roll) almost immediately. They do make a great secondary bag to take full and return with it empty though.

    • Owlhaven says:

      Point taken. I think I will take my big sturdy wheelie bag too. That way I can have an ‘extra’ cheapo bag to switch out if one of them dies. 🙂

  3. The wedding looked fab!! Just wanted to say that if it gets up to 100 degrees in your area I am not sure that’ the garage is the best place to keep old film or VHS tapes! You might want to consider moving them to aa area that stays cooler?

  4. I’m a little envious of such a pretty scene and the gorgeous-sounding weather to go with it! Those are unheard of temperatures in my neck of the woods. (We have been toying with 100F temps for weeks, with heat indexes of 110-115. There’s been a heat advisory warning every day I’ve looked for the past 3 weeks. Our LOW temps are still upper 70s and that’s middle of the night. It’s currently 84F with 96% humidity, at a whopping 8:45 AM.) I’m very happy for them, though, to have had such perfect weather for the outdoor wedding. I suspect a lot of prayer and entreating went into that. 🙂

    Good luck with the garage clearing! For a while now, I’ve been smelling moldy smells when I went into the garage and I was not happy about it but was not sure where it was coming from. I finally found it when a section of the roof caved in. Joy. The water had apparently been leaking down inside the wall except where the weak section of the roof was. Thus, I spent the last two days clearing out my garage, throwing away stuff that was ruined from the mold and water, and moving the rest of it into my house so the repairmen can come rip apart stuff to get all the mold out and then rebuild everything and replace the roof. (I definitely appreciated the nice warm weather while doing all that. ) The spare bedroom/office is now crammed with all the Christmas decorations and painting supplies and etc, and the living room is piled up with the rest of the stuff. I’d been trying to declutter the house anyway but once this happened, eliminating crap from the garage was more important. On a plus side, about 4 SUV carloads of stuff got donated to get it out of here, another carload of old electronics went to the hazardous waste dump, and multiple bags of garbage got removed. I also have a pile of large bulky things to take down to the street for the bulky trash pickup but I’m not allowed to do that until 2 days prior to service so I have to keep it sitting until tomorrow. I am also fairly confident some of what I kept and moved into the house will probably end up being tossed by the time I can return it to the garage shelving. I don’t like the circumstances, but I am pleased at the resulting clear out!

    I’d say to have fun on your trip, but I’m quite certain you will. It sounds like a fabulous time!

  5. Happy travels — can’t wait to hear about them!

  6. Mary, now that you’re home from Ethiopia, how do you feel about the $14 Walmart suitcase? Still worth it? My husband and I are planning our first international trip for December – to India – and we might need more luggage.

    • Two of the bags, stuffed with clothing, did great. But a third, loaded very heavily on the way home with something fairly rigid, got a three cornered tear in it, and I ended up tossing it. Next time I’ll just pack them all with clothes, and I think they’d be fine.