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If you read July’s Monthly Update, you may remember that I mentioned I was going on vacation early in the month. I went with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law down to the States for about a week and a half.

It was a great trip–lots of shopping, lots of family time, and lots of relaxing. It was exactly what we all needed.

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The first half of the trip was spent in Iowa. We have family there, and it had been about five years since we’d been down to visit. They did come up to see us recently–for Denie and Kaleigh’s wedding last summer, and for Dad’s funeral in December–but it felt like a really long time since we’d been the ones to make the trip.

I’m so glad we made it this summer. Plus, our timing meant we were there for July 4. Admittedly, the fireworks we saw were a bit disappointing, but spending the day out at my aunt and uncle’s farm was pretty wonderful.

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The second half of the trip was spent at a cabin in Minnesota. We rented a place on Lake Emily for a few nights. It was the perfect size for the four of us, with a large fire pit and a path directly down to the lake. Our timing was perfect, too. It rained a couple of nights, but the days were sunny and the evenings beautiful.

All of that said, the trip was bittersweet. It was our first family vacation without my dad, and his presence was definitely missed. He would have enjoyed both Iowa and Minnesota, and having him there with us would have made it so much better.

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