a brimming independence

I imagined this summer differently a few months ago. Mark had a full summer of classes planned and our family budget had dramatically shrunk this year, both leaving little room for a typical vacation. As usual, we carved out time to see our families, and I settled into the idea of being around our home more, filling our time with local activities, seeking some piece of clichéd summer americana to help form a new rhythm for our family. We sold my newer, nicer Toyota (we had just paid off last year) this spring to buy a cheaper, older Suburban to buoy our shrinking savings.  Although initially painful, Mark and I both agreed paying our bills and staying out of debt was better than driving a nicer car. Besides, this year, 2012, I had inadvertently declared “the year I get over myself,” testing the ever evasive limits of needs and wants. And it is truly evasive. In the meantime, Mark’s second summer class didn’t make, leaving us with more time coasting the long Texas highways in our new old car than I originally intended. I don’t know whether it’s the Suburban’s floating-living-room feel or the land, GREEN with sufficient rain, viewed from my window, but our family road-trips have been a part of my restoration this summer. And I’m brimming. That’s right, brimming. Who knew traveling in one car with four kids and without a DVD player or iPad I could leave me brimming?

We spent Independence Day this year in south Texas with Mark’s side of the family. They fed and housed our brood for several days, where we spent a day at the beach, swam at the waterpark, visited the family farm (where they each rode on the combine harvesting grain and ran in the cotton fields), and watched fireworks over the bay. Here’s a few pictures I caught with my phone.