July is my favorite month of the year: school's out, life is a lot more relaxed, it's high summer, it's my birthday month, and we're usually in Massachusetts. We started the month out with a fun vacation in Hershey, and then the kids and I spent two weeks at my mom's house in Massachusetts, and then we spent the rest of the month at our house on Cape Cod. It was a month of special milestones: our first summer staying in our own house on the Cape, and our tenth summer in a row summer vacationing on the Cape. My children have spent time every summer of their lives on the Cape. Also, on the last day of the month it was my birthday, which is a great way to wrap up my favorite month of the year.
I'm not going to include very many pictures in this post because I plan on writing blog posts about our summer in Massachusetts within a few months, so I'll include pictures from July then, as well as more detailed posts for things that deserve posts of their own.
- Movies I saw: Planes 2: Fire and Rescue in the theater with Sam (it was good); Contact (good and thought-provoking; my dad couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before); Gone With the Wind (I finally saw it; I can't believe I hadn't seen it before!); Eat Pray Love (the book was better).
- Best book I read: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
- Biggest loss and (thank goodness) recovery: The boys' iPads were lost for a few days, somewhere beyond the boundaries of house and car, and then they were found. More about this to come!
- Best discovery: The Wrentham Premium Outlets, not too far from my mom's. I've been to these a few times since my high-school days, but it wasn't until this summer that I realized how much I've been missing by not going there more. They've got Fossil! Kate Spade! and so many more great stores. Shopping there will now be a regularly scheduled part of my summers.
- Best discovery on Cape Cod: The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History does these great summer day camps for kids. Now that we have our own place and can stay on the Cape for more than two weeks, I signed the boys up for a week of camp. I was very pleased with the high quality of their programs. The kids learned so much from being out in nature, hiking out to the sea, and doing some really unique and fun activities. It was very educational and fun for them (and me, as I got some nice time to myself).
- Fun places I went: Hershey, PA; Southwick's Zoo; Rhode Island to visit my sister; Cape Cod.
- Something special: I visited my grandma in her nursing home with my mom and the kids. I hadn't seen her in a few years and it was really good to see her again. Pictures and more about this to come.
- Best get-together: Annual party with my cousins/aunts/uncles in my hometown.
Me and a few of my cousins from my mom's side.
Cousins, cousins' kids, aunts, uncles...and this isn't all of us!
If everyone had been there this picture would be twice as big.
- Another fun get-together: dinner with some of my best friends from high-school. We started doing this every summer after I moved halfway across the country.
We also got together for a beach day on the Cape at one of the best beaches not only on the Cape but in the entire country, a beach that I hadn't been to yet because the parking lot is always full. I finally got to go and it was awesome! (A lot more to come about that!)
- Most special day for me, personally: My 34th birthday, which I'll just go ahead and blog about now. It involved lots of good things. It was a quiet, peaceful day with just Sam and my mom (John was in Rhode Island staying with Peter's parents for the week, and Peter was still in Iowa). We ate breakfast on the outdoor patio at the Keltic Kitchen. We went to my favorite (haunted!) bookstore on the Cape. Peter sent me a beautifully delicious Edible Arrangements bouquet.
Sam made me the absolute sweetest "birthday cake" I've ever received. He made this for me all on his own out of little toys and things he found in the house. See how he designed it as a tiered two-layer cake? It totally melted my heart and was my favorite thing about the whole day.
We ate dinner at Yarmouth House (my favorite restaurant on the Cape), where I ordered my favorite entree, Lazy Man's Lobster. So delicious!
After dinner we went out for ice cream...
...and ended the day with a stop at "our beach," the one near our house. I love it there.
Someone had made a sea turtle out of sand and lined its back with seashells. It was so cute and it felt like a gift of good karma.
It was a good birthday and a good month!