The last sweaty days are probably behind us and don’t even get me started on how much I miss the beach ALREADY. Soon it will be frozen over in a snow-pocolypse though so there is that. This post is really just an excuse to post a zillion pictures that make me smile.

These friends are in India right now for Indu’s sister’s wedding. So grateful for the time we have spent getting to know each other and sharing life over the last year. We miss them so much already!

I can’t really explain our love of the beach…but it is deep and wide yo!

life at the beach is the good life.

And luckily for him Abishai fits in marvelously with a love for the beach; particularly eating sand and playing in the waves. while wearing a 20 pound diaper.

Annikah also continued her business endeavors this summer and re-opened her jewelry shop.  She recruited Evy who is fabulous at getting anyone walking down Ashland Ave to stop and peruse the goods. Seriously, this kid is a saleswoman extraordinaire!

It was awesome to see them do something together and NOT try to kill each other (well, at least mostly!) So many awesome friends stopped by to place orders or buy jewelry from these cuties. Plus Anni raised almost $50 for Africa!!

There were lots of breaks to do yoga as well.

We had to hit up downtown again before saying goodbye to city living and cousins visiting was the perfect excuse to see the bean and the spitting fountains. And I sorta LOVE that Abishai looks like the massive baby he is in these pics.

Abishai was not a fan but the girls loved every minute.

Before we left Chicago we had to join in on a theater hike– I love these free opportunities to walk a little and see a kid friendly show. Jason did think I was a little totally insane to go just hours before our “It takes a Village Party..” but this is me we are talking about and I am an experience junkie! The girls and I joined some friends and we had a blast.

We had our “It Takes a Village to Birth an Engstrom….” party on our last Saturday in the city. The idea was born on a late night during my pregnancy with Abishai when I could not sleep because of the horrible steroids coursing through my veins. It was a dark time for us and the only reason we made it through was God’s grace and dear friends who did NOT say “if I can do anything let me know” but rather SHOWED up is small and big ways and stood in the huge gap. During the PICC line days I sat up crying and feeling sorry for myself for hours one night and in the midst of the tears it hit me: I am so blessed ot have PEOPLE.  The kind of people who will step in no matter the cost to themselves.  I scribbled names and amazingly small and huge things they had done for us over pages and pages in my journal and this became the basis for the party.  We wanted to thank you; our people, for loving us when I was pretty unloveable.  We wanted to thank you for reading scripture to me and visiting me even when I had not showered for a week and smelled like vomit.  We wanted to thank you for the ridiculous and inappropriate text messages that reminded me that I would indeed laugh again. We wanted to thank you for the meals, caring for the girls when I could not, the laundry, the giftcards, the listening, and visiting me in the hospital again and again. For those of you that reminded me that HG was only part of the story God was writing in my life and not all of it.  For all those who supported Jason during a really difficult time (the only thing worse than being the sick, puking person is listening to that person cry and whine ALL THE TIME). We wanted to mark this time in our lives. And although we are so relieved it is over God had purpose in it all and many of you were Jesus with skin on to us and for that we are so grateful.  So it was fitting to celebrate with our fav Mexican food and a whole lot of our tribe gathered in the alley behind our house.  Here are some images the fabulous Dana Chen captured of the day.  

my man is fine y’all.

does my face really look like this when I am trying to be all serious???

reading from my journal and thanking everyone (and crying of course)

Evy during Papa’s prayers. Be still my heart.

how we do backyard in the city 🙂

The girls came up with fun ideas: a raffle giveaway, poster board where everyone could write something awesome God did in our lives, and a pinata. These girls know how to party!!

So many family and friends in one place was a total blessing. Seriously, I looked around and started crying because we just do not deserve all this awesome-ness.

And our friend’s that had bought jewelry from Annikah’s shop also wore it on the day of our party. Anni was so stoked and I again was reminded how amazing these peeps are; they love and support our family in so many ways and for that I am grateful!! Summer was awesome but as always it slipped away from us too quickly. And the temps cooling is not the only major change around here.  I want to always remember this season of our lives in Chicago was rich and amazing. Through so many transitions I’ve learned it is important to look back, to take time to remember, and to tell people what they mean to you. Grateful we had an opportunity to do just that.
Here is to the next season,


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