Hello from the other side of the 4th of July! I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with fun, sun, and all 10 fingers. That’s a joke about fireworks. We kept it casual with snappers, sparklers, and water blasters at my parent’s house!

Since the 4th landed in the middle(ish) of the week, and our sitter was off, I could never quite get a grasp on what day it was. Instead of stressing about it though, we enjoyed it! The kids and I fit in plenty of backyard pool time, went to the farm (more on that below) and sidewalk chalked our faces off. It was a nice break but it’s good to be back. :)

It’s also time to plan another holiday – Gwendolyn’s FIRST BIRTHDAY! My little petunia will be one in under two weeks which doesn’t seem possible – this was the fastest year of my life. I don’t remember being pregnant last summer (the aches and pains, etc,) but I do remember with crystal clarity the day she was born. Checking into the hospital, our nurse, Anne, who really knew her way around an IV bless her heart, my heart racing while waiting for my beloved doctor to come tell us it was time (“ready to have a baby?!” she asked,) walking into the cold operating room, receiving my epidural, laying there while they got to her, then holding our baby girl against my chest for the very first time. It has been a complete joy to see her change and grow SO much this past year. I could not love her more. UGH!!

Sis is a Mama’s girl through and through, though she’s got the entire family wrapped around her little finger.

It’s so funny to watch rough and tumble Cam sweetly kiss and caress her cheek in between throwing punches at his brother (ay yi yi,) and see Lincoln by her side doing anything and everything to make her happy all day long. These relationships will evolve, of course, but for now the boys are her #1 fans.

Since G’s birthday is just three weeks before Lincoln’s, we’ll get a cupcake or something for her actual birthday then have a big celebration with family closer to L’s 6th birthday (which is also SO hard to believe!!!)

Anyway! Lots of things happening this month which I am excited to fill you in on. In the meantime, here’s what else is happening in this edition of Currently.

Rekindling: bike riding. I’ve been working with Lincoln on removing his training wheels which inspired me to get my own bike down from its hooks in the garage and hop back in the saddle! I couldn’t ride last summer since I was pregnant then recovering from my c-section, and missed it so much. That said, I took my first long ride a couple nights ago and was in HEAVEN. We sometimes get down about living in the Midwest – no mountains to climb, nor oceans to surf – but riding through the lush, tree covered trail next to creeks and streams reminded me that there is fun to be had no matter where you live. You just have to get out there and live it! I downloaded this Map My Ride app which is great for keeping track of routes and calories burned, among other things. Between riding, Orange Theory, and mowing, my shoulders and quads are buuuuurning. Hurts so good. Except two days after OT. That just hurts.

Wearing: Athleta Essence Vital Tank. I had a minor freak out recently about not having anything to wear. Not an, I don’t like anything in my closet! episode, more like, I have NOTHING in my closet! I have a habit of Marie Kondo’ing my wardrobe while pregnant and nesting, and very little made the cut last year. Anyway, I went shopping and found a couple cute. tanks. at Banana Republic, and am especially loving these Essence Vital Tanks from Athleta. They’re great for everyday running around, plus I could work out in them. I also LOVE the fact that they are high neck. I purchased the tank in black and white, which I don’t find to be see through.

Speaking of, why are 99% of shirts these days made out of see through material? I tried on nearly 20 tops between Banana, Athleta, Express, J Crew, and LOFT and nearly all of them were made from material so thin it’s see through. LOFT seemed to be the worst offender which is too bad because their styles right now are adorable! Moving on…

Laughing: Always Be My Maybe. Neither Ben nor I are ROMCOM fans, so I was surprised when he suggested watching Always Be My Maybe on Netflix a couple weekends ago. I agreed because it stars Ali Wong, whom we both love, and it was so good!! Only a few cheesy moments. I love Ali’s comedic timing and truly it was just funny. Two thumbs up.

Visiting: baby goats! One of our very favorite places in town, Howell’s, had a baby goat pen this year! We are here constantly in the fall and were thrilled to learn they opened the play yard for the summer too. This year (and maybe last) Howell’s started offering goat yoga, feeding bottles to baby goats, and/or simply playing with their baby goats. It was just the coolest thing! Those big floppy ears? I can’t. Anyway, my mom and I took the kids last week and we were ALL in heaven. Cam had his baby goat bleat down 30 seconds in (hahahaha) and Lincoln, who is usually shy with new animals, just couldn’t have been more enthralled. Gwen was…confused. Locals, highly recommend! (Pro tip: wear a shirt you don’t mind them chewing on, hehehe.)

Watching: The Last Czars. I’ve seen this Netflix original being promoted on Facebook and Instagram a ton lately so I gave it a shot and…jury’s still out. I like the style of the show, which mixes interviews with historians with a traditional drama, but the content, especially the actor/role of Rasputin is just…creepy. Bravo, I guess, because he was a creep in real life, but…ew. I’ll probably finish the series since it’s short but wanted to get your thoughts on it too.

Hanging: wall decor.finally hung up art in Gwen’s room this past weekend – only took a year! Good grief. Anyway, I’d collected a few cute prints from Target and Homegoods over the months, but the runaway stars so far in Gwen’s eyes are the unicorn and swan head hanging on either sides of her window. She starts waving wildly and gabbing to them anytime we enter her room. It is so darn cute.

Enjoying: Amazon returns. As if Amazon priming wasn’t dangerous enough – did you know you don’t need a box to put the items you’re returning in, NOR do you need a printer to print out a return slip?! All you have to do is take the item to UPS, show them a return code that gets emailed to you after selecting what you want to return on the website, and they handle the rest. What a time to be alive! Guess I should tell you that I’m not a fan of Amazon’s clothing line. The pieces look so cute on fashion bloggers but both items I’ve ordered are made from cheap material and/or don’t fit well. Anyone else?

Devouring: peaches and cherries. Move over, watermelon – peach and cherry season has arrived! Ripe peaches are one of my favorite scents of summer – I will always remember my Mom serving my brothers and me cold, sliced peaches with powdered sugar during the dog days of summer – and cherries seem to naturally satisfy a craving for sweets like few other foods can. Both are perfection on their own, but if you’ve got a surplus of either, here are a few fresh peach and cherry recipes for ya:

Sugar Cookie Peach Cobbler for Two >

Sugar Cookie Peach Cobbler for Two is a cozy gluten-free dessert recipe that makes just enough for you and a friend. Made in just one bowl, it's a cinch to whip up! | iowagirleats.com


Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad >

Balsamic Steak and Peach Salad is a fresh and filling entree salad with the sweet and savory flavors of balsamic vinegar. #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com


Peach Caprese Salad >

Peach Caprese Salad is a summery-sweet twist on classic Caprese Salad. Serve as a light summer supper or a side dish to any grilled dinner! | iowagirleats.com


Almond-Stuffed Chocolate-Covered Cherries >

Almond-Stuffed Chocolate Covered Cherries is a simple, 3 ingredient, gluten-free dessert recipe that's ready in minutes! | iowagirleats.com


Cherry-Almond Cookie Dough Oatmeal >

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