One BIG Summer!

As I drove home from my parents' house earlier today, I thought about summertime~
How sweet it is.
How quickly it passes.
How important it is for me to do the most with every day.
With one week left of freedom, and my last trip starting tomorrow (OBX!),
I'd say I've done the best I can.
I've had one big, sweet summer.
1. I spent my first few days of summer relaxing at Rehoboth Beach
We stayed at a beautiful hotel with an 'Adults Only' pool~ music to a teacher's ears by the end of June.
We read by the pool, ate great food, and soaked up the warm sun. It was the perfect way to start my summer.
2. We took a quick trip to Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia. 
With a huge pool and luscious surroundings, the hotel is the perfect place for a little getaway.
3. The D-12 came from near and far to watch our beautiful Jocelyn get married to her perfect match, Matt.
It was an awesome wedding. The ceremony was heartfelt and the reception was at the Top of the Town looking out over DC's skyline. 
Matt makes Jocelyn so happy.
And that makes all of us happy.
I know they'll be laughing together forever.
4. The day after the wedding was the Fourth of July, so some of the D-12 got to spend the rest of the weekend together. We had a big slumber party at my house and then spent the day talking, recuperating, and grilling out in the backyard. That night we walked to Iwo Jima and took in awesome fireworks, and also set off (very cool) sparklers of our own.
5. And then came Africa...
and it was stunning.

6. A few days after I returned from Africa, I headed to New York City for my annual summer visit. My brother participates in a concert there every July, and my mom and I always attend. 
Of course Jason sang his face off and brought the house down (the usual when he takes the stage).
I also had the pleasure of spending time with him at the summer arts camp where he teaches. I got to sing Lady Gaga at the top of my lungs, and watch my brother plant seeds of confidence in children of all ages.
 As a teacher, I know how vulnerable kids can feel. So it was especially awesome for me to see them ditch their reservations as a result of my brother's encouragement. 

I do have to say for the record that it was so hot there that we hardly accomplished anything touristy! We managed to sweat it out long enough to make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, enjoy a couple of tasty dinners, and see Friends with Benefits (3.5 out of 5 stars). And as usual, my awesome friend Rosemary came over from Brooklyn to share in all of our activities!
7. We took a quick "staycation" to Manassas, Va and spent the day at La Grange winery playing cards and listening to live music. We followed it up with a little driving range action (did I mention I've 'taken up' golf? It's on the Life List...) and I didn't manage to hit a single golf ball. It's a good thing I believe in myself or this could have really damaged my hopes of turning pro.
8. My friend Sabrina, her mom, her niece and I spent the week in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. We sun shade-bathed, grilled out, explored the lighthouse, read, and visited a famous fudge shop!
9. Chris took me to Wisconsin for the first time, and I loved it! I played my first, real 9 holes of golf with the boys (and hit the ball pretty well, may I add!), drove an ATV for the first time, went tubing, spent afternoons on the lake, and attended my first ever State Fair! 
The Wisconsin State Fair was hilarious and filling, and by that I mean I spent half the ride down there drooling over the alphabetically listed food items and planning our attack through the park.
To give you an example of what we were working with, I present you with a few of the food offerings beginning with just the letter C:
candy apples
caramel apples
cauliflower (fried)
cheddar cheese
cheese & corn dog
cheese curds (fried)
cheese fries
cheese on a stick
cheese stick
cheesecake on a stick
cherry pie
chicken wings
chocolate covered banana
chocolate cream puffs
chocolate eclairs
cinnamon rolls
corn-on-the-cob (hot roasted and dipped in butter)
cotton candy
crab cakes (deep fried)
cream cheese (deep fried) on a stick
cream cheese with bacon
cream puff.
I mean really.
Though I managed to escape without consuming anything deep fried on a stick, I did give it my best beginner's shot and try a few one-of-a-kind State Fair delicacies (can you say cream puff the size of my face?)
10. I had a Girls Day in Annapolis with two of my aunts and my mom! My Aunt Vicki graciously hosted us for a day of R&R, and we spent the whole day talking and laughing by the pool.
11. My mom, Jason and I drove up to Hershey Park to see Journey in concert and ride roller coasters! 
12. I attended my Ten Year High School Reunion! 
(What?! How did this happen?)
 It was wonderful to catch up with old friends, and of course throughout the evening the D12 held my heart.
Thank you, Jean (Yay! She's a self-described 'blog stalker'!) and your gang, for organizing such a great event :)
13. Because I need to pack (and this post is turning into a dissertation), I'll record some of the other things I've done around town in Cliffs Notes style...
My family celebrated my brother Jeff's 33rd birthday with a crepe-filled brunch
I cleaned out my ever-disorganized closet and every cabinet in my kitchen
I redecorated the guest room
I painted, sanded and stained an old book shelf
I finally made it to TopGolf
I discovered a beautiful rose garden
I sang my heart out at a Rascal Flatts concert
I attempted in vain to control the weeds from taking over my garden
I saw The Help with my mom (10 out of 5 stars!)
I fell in like with hot yoga
I tried out Cube Libre during Restaurant Week (delicious!)
I enjoyed pool days with the Big Girl
and last but not least, I hung out with my main girl, Kenz.
So as I head off on my last summer adventure of 2011, I am thankful for the wonderful summer I've had, and dreaming of many more adventure-filled summers to come. 
I hope you're all enjoying your big, sweet summer days, too!

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