One Splendid Summer

This summer has been everything a summer should be. The kids have spent so much time playing with friends old and new in our neighborhood, VBS, baseball, soccer and ballet camps and we just took the best vacation ever over the Fourth of July weekend with Justin’s parents Hugh and Cheryl (Papa and Gran Gran).


It might be because I’m pregnant and overly sensitive in general, or perhaps it’s the perspective we were given having raised our young family through the challenges of dental school, but I can’t help but be incredibly cognizant of how fortunate we are. Life in general is just so much easier now than it was a year ago. Living through the pressures and binds of a heavily restricted budget that was pretty much solely based on student loans was incredibly challenging, specifically for Justin and I and the impact it had on our marriage.

I don’t often talk about my relationship with Justin. I suppose because our primary focus was only each other very, very briefly early on in our courtship. We’ve learned to build a foundation for our love and bond through the layers of an unexpected pregnancy, the stress of living on one income, testing into and applying for dental school, moving across the country on our own and then not only surviving but succeeding beyond all of that.

It probably goes without saying that having involved family members has made our lives so much better in all ways-primarily lifting the pressures of raising our children with all necessary components from being solely on our shoulders. They need people around them that love them and care for them, and Justin and I are also benefiting from the support in countless ways.

I’m certainly not much of a planner by nature. I prefer to be somewhat spontaneous whenever possible and have found that, even though Justin couldn’t be more the opposite, it seems to work the best for our family in most everyday situations.


We didn’t decide to go to Tahoe for the long weekend until the day before we packed up and drove late into the night the 5 hour car ride to Justin’s aunt and uncle’s cabin on the North Shore. Papa and Gran Gran met us there and we proceeded to spend nearly all day, every day on the beach, kayaking, fishing for crawdads or playing in the perfectly clear, gorgeous (albeit chilly) water. It was as close to the quintessential “vacation” that we’ve ever taken as a family and each of us enjoyed and appreciated it so much.


This trip, coupled with my longing to take the kids back to the city for a visit, has ramped up a very real and almost tangible sense of wanderlust in me. The summers seem so incredibly short, though this one in particular feels especially pressing with the forthcoming birth of our fourth baby and school starting again for the kids at nearly the same time. Beau will go to preschool for the first time, while Jack and Zoe will enter 1st and 2nd grades-it feels so much like we’re living within the boarders of a puzzle while the universe carefully calculates the strategy for completing that picture.

Despite the rapid impending changes, Justin and I have found an avenue towards a stronger bond between each other. With the support from our family around us, we’ve been able to extend our focus to our relationship as well as raising our family as best as we possibly can. The constant peddling in tandem has just about brought us to the eighth anniversary of our wedding, and we’ve decided to celebrate with a short but sweet baby moon vacation; Justin and I are embarking on what will be the first actual trip of leisure as a married couple that we’ve ever taken together. Of course, leaving the kids and pets is never easy, but they’ll be on their own Grandparent’s Getaway, staying with family while we finally make the effort to spend some uncompromised time together. I’m pretty certain we’ll have absolutely zero idea what to do with ourselves with all of this time (we’ll be talking about the kids, obviously), but I know it will be good for us. Even if I am beached most of the time.

Join the Conversation


  • It’s so good to take time to focus on your relationship as a couple, the foundation for all this other richness going on around you. You are blessed, and you and your story in words and pictures are a blessing!!!

  • Oh, yes. I know what you mean about the cognizance of how good it is – I feel the same way and sometimes that makes the bittersweet pang of how short this life is feel almost unbearable. xox

  • Beautiful. I hope y’all have a wonderful trip alone. Enjoy each moment and most of all, the silence!

  • Truly so happy for you!!! I’ve been following along your journey since you were in the city and I am truly truly happy for you!!!!!!

  • Fantastic post – with all the rush of everyday life, it is so easy for forget the good things. I know because we feel the same way at home. And yes, it is important to take time away from the kids (we only do it a few evenings a year, when the babysitter is home from college) – and yes, all you’ll talk about is the kids, but the important thing is to carve the time. Have a wonderful time – you write a fantastic blog – and needless to say, you kids and that puppy are just oh-so-delicious! 🙂

  • I love seeing all the sweet pics on Instagram! Our kids call their grandparents Papa and Gran Gran as well, I’ve never heard any one else called Gran Gran before!

  • I love reading your blogs- they give me such hope. I am pregnant with my first baby and have only been married for 10 months. This pregnancy was not planned, but it was God’s plan. I feel blessed to be able to take on the role of Mom. Your blog is so inspiring and real. I often feel like this as well “it feels so much like we’re living within the boarders of a puzzle while the universe carefully calculates the strategy for completing that picture.” Thank you for such an amazing perspective – I know through this baby my husband and I will come out better on the other side.

  • Jessica, whenever I read any of your posts, I’m always struck by what a genuinely NICE person you are, and what wonderful kids you’re raising. Number Four is lucky to be born into your family and I’ll be following the changes to your beautiful family from afar.

    I know you’ve had a tough time recently dealing with what sounds like truly evil internet trolls, and I bet it can’t be easy to simply shrug it off, so I’m sharing a lesson with you that someone once shared with me.

    If you put a whole lot of crabs in a bucket, there will always be one crab who tries to get out, and succeed in his bid for freedom. Do you know what the crabs left in the bucket will do when they see him trying to make his escape? They’ll do everything they can to pull him back down, and prevent him getting above him.

    A lot of people are just like crabs in a bucket. They hate to see others succeed, or even try, where they have failed. See these bitter, unfulfilled crabs for what they are, and know how many of your genuine fans are applauding you.

    I love how you so generously share your beautiful family, and magnificent mutt, with people around the world, and know that this simple act of sharing brings so much pleasure to so many.

    Focus on this instead of the people who bring you down….you have worked for and deserve every moment of your success.

    Sending you warm wishes and eagerly awaiting baby news.

    Tel Aviv

  • I started following your blog, like many, because of the IG pictures of Beau and Theo. I have often looked at pictures of your beautiful family and wondered about the journey that has lead you here! I’m 36 weeks with my first and I wish we could have 3-4 kids, but financially at the moment it looks like we will be limited to 2. I am so excited for the challenge of becoming a parent and learning how to navigate this with my husband. We got to enjoy about 5 1/2 years of “just us” and are taking some classes at the hospital we’ll be birthing at on how to keep our marriage strong! Anyway, I love your blog and IG account.

  • I loved the post. Fourth of July in Tahoe with family is magical. We enjoyed every moment of it!

  • I can so relate! Are fourth child is due this fall. Are oldest two going to pre k and 1st grade. We took just an overnight baby moon and it was quite something the feeling of what to do with yourself! Have a blessed vacation and pregnancy!

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