Around the world in 40 days

Okay, not around the world. But halfway-and-back kind of amounts to the same thing, right? I'm happily getting re-nested after doing some serious and scattered wandering since May/June. Here's a really quick nutshell catch-up:

1. I finished my dissertation! And then defended it! In retrospect I kind of can't believe it's done. And, also in hindsight, I see how much of a barrier I was to myself until I just decided to get 'er done. Turns out writing a dissertation mostly means showing up and putting words on the page. (And, okay yes, it involved coordinating approvals and feedback with a long-distance committee, too. And data analysis.) I'll probably post a little more about the study itself another time but for now I'm just so grateful for my own personal support crew at home throughout all these years as well as those who cheered me on elsewhere. My family couldn't get away to attend the actual defense so it meant so much to me to have friends show up for my presentation and celebrate with me afterwards. And a friend (looking at you, Jen) who actually let me stay in her house in the Boston area while they were on vacation elsewhere.

Next time I defend a dissertation will you remind me to take more photos and to wash my hair that day? Okay, thanks.

Next time I defend a dissertation will you remind me to take more photos and to wash my hair that day? Okay, thanks.

2. Fun times in the NYC. I ended up with some extra time on my hands on the east coast so I talked my good (and, happily for me, spontaneous) friend Christie into a last-minute girls' trip in NYC. We had a blast, including some mighty fine meals, a celebrity sighting or two, theatre evenings, loads of walking, and (best of all) excellent conversations about everything under the sun. 

3. Family times in Utah. After that I headed to Utah for time with my parents and Lauren. The rest of the family joined us there after the Aussie school semester ended on July 3. G had his 30th high school reunion, we had a week at Bear Lake with G's family, time at Wildwood with my family, and so many good, soul filling moments that I will live off of for months. 'Twas perfect.

4. Launching countdown for Maddy. University and freshman orientation doesn't start until later in August but, since I had already been gone for almost 6 weeks, I realized I couldn't stay away any longer to wait for the actual first day of school. So we did the dorm outfitting and goodbying a little earlier. It does NOT get any easier the second time around, folks. We will miss our Maddy girl immensely but are so happy for her new stage. She's so READY.

At our family talent night, my cousin Colin sang this song he wrote with a friend. Sitting there between my two girls, it was the perfect song for the day before our goodbyes. I posted a little snippet on my instagram but here's the whole, beautiful song. Thanks, Colin.