As promised, it is September 1st, and I am back. In true back-to-school spirit, here is my “What I Did This Summer” essay.

Wedding Anniversary

This summer my husband and I celebrated 15 years. All we really wanted was a few days alone together, so weeks of planning, and a patchwork of four different caregivers later, we got ourselves a long weekend!

Finding childcare is hard on all parents, but finding the right person to trust your special-needs child to seems a particularly tricky task. We have definitely had some good and bad experiences in that department, so to go on this trip feeling good about who was with our boys was HUGE! So thankful.

For our Anniversary dinner, I ordered a cute sundress online. Then almost returned it. Does anybody else do that? Hit “order” with full confidence and then backpedal when you look in the mirror? My thoughts went something along the lines of, “Is this too much? Too bright? Too low-cut? Too fancy for someone like me? Too… too… too…”

As I pondered all these “too”s and looked for my husband for his opinion, I walked by my son. His eyes lit right up when he saw me and said, “Mommy is a princess!”

I kept the dress.

Obligatory Selfies of the Anniversary Dress

Summer Camp

This summer both boys went to day camp. Which is kind of a big deal in our world.

Our youngest was all for it, of course. He is always up for an adventure, and he’s the kind of person who makes friends wherever he goes. He went to a day camp last year and loved it, so this year we signed him up for two different camps: a 1-day session at one, and a 2-day session at another. He came home with finished crafts, and a huge smile, talking a mile a minute. He can’t wait to be old enough to stay for longer.

Our oldest is a different story. He is our child on the Spectrum. For many years I wouldn’t have dreamed of such a thing for him. His needs were just too great, and safety was too big of a concern.

Last year we tried something new. We sent him to a day camp with a hired babysitter to act as his personal aide. He was safe, but he didn’t seem to enjoy it very much. He and his sitter sat out of several activities because he just didn’t want to engage.

So I decided not to push it this year, and only made plans for little brother. However one evening, Dan and I were on the couch and I was filling him in on our youngest’s schedule, when our oldest popped around the corner, seemingly out of nowhere.

“I will go to the camp” he said, matter-of-factly.

“You will?” I asked, honestly quite shocked.

“I will.” He nodded.

So he did. And came back beaming.

I’m so proud of him for knowing he was ready, and for speaking up about it. He went for three whole days with no incidents, and wants to go back again next year. I’m so excited for him!

Family Vacation

As you know, I took August off for some family time. We took the kids to Ontario Canada where my husband and I both grew up, for some sand, sun, and visiting family. We spent our time on one of the Great Lakes, which was an exciting experience for our two prairie boys who have only ever swam in swimming pools.

This was our first time back in several years. We were overdue for a trip before Covid hit, then had to wait two additional years before we could travel again. Needless to say, we were anxious to see everyone and have our kids meet some new cousins they have only ever seen on video chat.

If any of you have moved far away from family, you know the exhaustion of spreading a few short days over several family members’ homes in various different communities on your holidays. While it’s good to see people, it isn’t very restful. All that time on the road and sleeping in a different bed (or couch) every night is tough on adults and kids alike, and leaves you needing a vacation after your vacation! So this year we tried something new: we stayed in one place.

This time, after three days in a car, we settled into our cabin in a central location, and just… stayed put. Our families came to us. They got to enjoy a day trip to the lake, we all got to catch up and enjoy each other’s company, and no one had to stress about hosting.

200% recommend.


After the long wait, you get two blog posts this week! I’m changing my regular publishing day from Thursdays to Fridays for a while (just playing with dates to see what gets more traffic), which means that a brand new shiny post will be arriving in your inboxes tomorrow morning.

See you tomorrow!

© 2022 Ashley Lilley – First time commenting? Please read my Comment Policy.

3 thoughts on “Summer Recap (2022)

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