On my Mind: First Day of Summer

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I am SOOO happy that it’s summertime! I told my kids that we are not sleeping in past 8:30 tomorrow (even though I know we all could) so we can get started on the fun! Actually, I told them I wanted to have a few “exercise days” and asked them if they wanted to do it m/w/f or t/th and my oldest piped up: M/W/F!! I mean, I was going to work out each day, but I was surprised at that! So we begin. Here is the short list of ideas I have for working out with my kids:

  • I run while the boys run with me and the girls ride bikes by us
  • Circuit workout in our family room or on our driveway
  • Head down to the middle school track and do bleacher runs or around the track (little ones likely play)
  • We all ride bikes (I’ll just get less of a workout)
  • swim laps at the pool
  • go to the gym and the 3 oldest exercise
  • shoot hoops & hopscotch at the elementary school (less of a workout for me, but still somewhat exercising)
  • Take up tennis??

Any other suggestions?

We had a CRAZY week last week. I mentioned on instagram that we were watching my brothers 3 kids while he and his wife took a trip to Colorado. Their kids are 4.5, 3, and 1. It was so much fun to pretend we had 7! I always thought 7 kids would be pretty awesome (my husband is 2nd of 7, and something we discussed early on–7 kids). Alas, for varying reasons, it’s not gonna happen for us. In a way, that reality breaks my heart, but we were stretched in so many directions with having littles and bigs with scheduling, I felt grateful for just the 4 kids that I have to juggle on a regular basis. My kids were such awesome helpers with their cousins, and once again asked if we could have another baby. Yes, babies are fun. I’d love my kids to have more siblings.

7 kids


It was a team effort.

I also tied my hair up in rags and slept in them, my hair was UBER curly! Check it out…

rag tie curls

Memorial Day my brother and his wife came back.

Early Tuesday morning My brother, his fam, me, and my girls drove to Houston in the  pouring rain. We went for the Medical School Graduation of my youngest brother, but then my sister in law figured she’d throw in a last minute birthday party for my nephew the afternoon before. It was an angry birds pig party. My sis in law drew out the fish fin hats and colored them all–I was impressed!  I also liked the blue jello ocean treat.

angry birds pig party

After the party was graduation. My youngest bro is going to be a Pathologist! They are moving to St. Louis this weekend to do his residency there, I will miss them not being in Texas. It was fun to cheer him on, what an amazing accomplishment–they had 2 kids while he was in school, too!  My 90 year old grandparents came in from Utah, and my mom got special permission to come from Ghana. Dad had to stay behind and run the show over there.

medical school graduation


We went out for pie after the ceremony (it was 7-9pm on a Tuesday night–random!) and after gulping down the delicious cold peach pie, I ushered my girls int our rental car and drove back to Austin. I left Houston at 10:20pm and got to Austin at 1:05am. It’s not something I recommend, but I had to be back Wednesday morning. One Direction and Dr. Pepper kept me awake. I don’t normally drink soda, and even less do I have caffeine, but I NEEDED to stay awake.

Wednesday was Chick fil A day. I had committed a month before to host a lunch like I did last year, and it started at 10am. It was really fun, this time they had a photographer from corporate in Atlanta come photograph the event. He took lots of pictures that I’ll share soon. The one reason I hesitate to share those pictures is because…..I love everyone, but I just couldn’t invite everyone I know. So naturally, that leaves people out and I hate leaving people out, because I hate feeling left out, so it’s a double edged sword, you know? I thought I’d spread the love a little and invite a few different people than I did last year (but a few the same). So please, my friends in real life–know I LOVE you even if you didn’t come to this. It’s not that I have a bajillion friends, but in my church congregation, there are a lot of us the same age, and well, peoples feelings get hurt, mine included.

Here is a sneak peek of me, my girl, and the cow.

chick fil a

Thursday, my baby graduated from pre school! It wasn’t such a big deal because we do a co-op and there are only 5 kids, but we had a little ceremony for them.  My phone pic were full and my big camera battery died. Nice. My friend took a few pics that I just don’t have yet.

{will put a picture here once I have some}

Then Friday, my son graduated from Elementary School! I was asked to photograph each child as they walked across the stage, and I’m happy to do anything to help out our awesome school. Plus, I got a seat reserved for my right up front! We didn’t plan well for my husband to ask off work early enough, so he couldn’t come. So my friend and I and our girls sat together. Well, she sat with our girls while I sat a few feet away to get the shots.

5th graduation

taking pictures

After school there was running around to a few parities, saturday was a Grad party, last soccer game for the boys, and then I went on a double daughter date with my friend to the roller skating rink! I mentioned on Intagram that I was pretty nervous, but my girl was SO excited to go. She got her roller skates for Christmas (out of the blue asked for a pair) and she’s been whizzing all over since then. I hadn’t strapped skates on in 15 years! I was a nervous Nelly, but I was so happy that I never once fell! I do have to say that both my daughter and I were pretty decent.

roller skating

{doesn’t it look like I have a “bob” haircut in the left picture?}

Then Sunday we enjoyed church in the morning, and it was Fasting and Testimony Meeting. The first Sunday of each month is a bit different at our church, and the congregation has the chance to share with each other the thoughts in our hearts. It’s a volunteer, off the cuff kind of thing, and my 13.5 year old son got up for the first time! It was an amazing mom moment to hear him share of his love for Our Savior, and for the scriptures. It was short and sweet, and meant so much to hear. Our Sunday School lesson was uplifting, and the lesson shared with the teen girls (that I teach 3 times each month) was titled: Dare to be Different. We are hoping the girls will understand that standing up for what is right may not always be easy (being different) but the blessings will come for choosing the right. One of my most favorite scriptures came up in the discussion: Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the Light of the World…Let your light shine before men…to glorify Father in Heaven. When we DARE to be different, we are letting that light shine for others.

I truly hope that by sharing all that I do on this site, that my light shines for all of you, that I may glorify my Father in Heaven.

So with ALL of that craziness from the past week, I am SOOO looking forward to some lazy summer days!!  Is it summer for you yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts, what’s going on with you, or what is the craziest thing you think I did this pas week!

Join The Discussion



  1. School’s out this coming Friday, so we are filled with end of year activities this week! We always kick off the summer with a family vacation the first week. This year, we decided to do a stay-cation, so we are planning all sorts of fun activities for the week around town. Super fun! Happy Summer!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    That was all one week?! Man, I’m thinking the word crazy wouldn’t quite do it justice! Love the pic of your hubby playing piano with the little one sitting there ON the piano watching him!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      It was a very crazy week for sure! Yes, I love that pic, too. He used to do that with our babies, mostly holding them on his lap while he played;)

  3. Boy! What a week you’ve had! Its always fun when cousins come to stay. I bet all the kids had a blast.
    Your son’s graduation pictures look amazing. and you guys seem to be having so much fun skating. Skating is brilliant, isn’t it?
    The curls look so cool. You’ve got to share how you used the rags to get the curls (I can’t really understand from the pictures).

  4. What a fun-filled week. Wished you would have had a little extra time this past weekend. I would have love to have met you in person. If you are ever in Houston, let me know. I’m so impressed that your family will be up by 8:30 a.m. during the summer. My girls (20 & 17 yrs. old) sleep until noon unless they are working or have plans. Sounds like you are going to have a great summer making memories!!