18 summers.

That’s the gift I’ve been given.

18 wonderful, incredible, amazing summers.

I still remember the first summer. It was full of monogrammed bathing suits and tiny blonde curls and giggles and twin language and naps and spoonfuls of applesauce.

There was the summer the braces came off.

There was the summer we fried an egg on the sidewalk.

There was the summer of driving permits.

There were summers full of cheer camp and dance camp and Nana camp and drives across America and celebrating the Fourth of July on the beach and watching all the Gilmore Girl episodes back to back.

I remember them each and every one.

And now?

We’ve come to summer number 18.

The senior summer.

The last summer before these two sweet chicks leave the nest.

When the leaves start to fall, they’ll be at Baylor. Hopefully going to class on time and learning all the things and remembering all the lessons I taught them.

And I’m going to be debating whether or not to move into their dorm room.

But for now?

I have this summer.

And I don’t want to miss a minute.

So here are 18 things, one for each of the past summers, that are on our summer bucket list.

1. Take a cooking class together (all three of us need to learn how to cook).

2. Go to the top of Reunion Tower for lunch.

3. Watch the sunrise on the beach together.

4. Go to a drive-in movie (and bring a picnic along).

5. Go on a mini-road trip to Waco and sing our favorite playlist at the top of our lungs.

6. Go to a painting class in downtown McKinney and paint something for their dorm room.

7. Binge watch an entire television series this summer (Dawson’s Creek I’m looking at you).

8. Get a pedicure together (and maybe a facial, too).

9. Take Buddy to the dog park (and maybe go to the animal shelter and hug all the puppies).

10. Spend a night together playing Westleigh’s favorite board game, “We’re Not Really Strangers” where we talk through all our feelings and tell each other how amazing we are.

11. Plant a tree in the backyard (my brothers did this before they left for college).

12. Go to the library and pick out our favorite books and spend an afternoon reading.

13. Pull out the photo albums from when they were little and spend the afternoon telling all the stories.

14. Go pick strawberries and then make a pie (and use my favorite recipe for pie crust).

15. Get dressed up and go out to a fancy dinner.

16. Plan a photoshoot with these amazing matching kimonos.

17. Sit on the beach and do nothing together for the afternoon.

18. Hug each other tight like you’ll never let each other go.

I am the luckiest duck in the world to have spent 18 summers with the two of you.

And just in case I haven’t mentioned it?

You are going to make such a difference in this big wide world.

I am so happy I have a front-row seat.

Don’t be afraid of failure.

Don’t be afraid to try.

Nothing in this world is accomplished by someone sitting on the sidelines.

Life is all about the doing.

And I can’t wait to spend this summer with you. 🙂

PS A giant shout out to Kenna Lynn Photography for these incredible photos and for Victoria Dunn and her sweet gift to a mom who wanted to celebrate the summer in style.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Becky Becky

    18 summers is a wonderful gift! I loved every summer home with my kids the dishes and meals were endless but so were the memories. Blessings to you and your daughters in your mutually new adventure, college life! It is wonderful to raise young women with strong roots and strong wings!

  2. Image for Maggie Rowe Maggie Rowe

    Oh, I think this just might be my favorite post ever, which is saying something. I love seeing the photos of you and your girls. You could be triplets! Have you ever read the novel by faith- based writer Michelle Cox called Just 18 Summers? This would be a great one for you and your girls to read this summer! It’s from Tyndale House.

  3. Image for Rebecca K Rebecca K

    It sounds like a wonderful and amazing summer for you three, plus anyone else you drag along for the ride! Enjoy every moment. They are all treasures.

  4. Image for Renee Renee

    Oh you 3 are simply gorgeous!! And those robes!!! Where did you find them? Enjoy every precious moment of this summer. My boys grew up way too fast but now I blessed to enjoy 5 grandchildren and I am savoring every minute spent with them! It’s a tearful bittersweet summer for you—- you have given them wings and direction— May they soar into new adventures….

  5. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I loved the list and you didn’t even mention Cape cod. Or dad. My husband had a harder time when our daughter left for college than I did. Love the tree planting idea. Are the twins planning on being roommates or each going out to explore on their own? I can see advantages of both! I’m a Libra so of course I can.

  6. Image for Cathie Collins Cathie Collins

    These are such wonderful ideas, because the summer before they leave for college is filled with so many emotions. Anticipation, anxiety and a little touch of sadness because they know that this next chapter is a big one. Brava to your girls and to you for being their mama!

  7. Image for Lori Lori

    An all girls summer! What fun! The photos are so sweet and what keepsakes! Planting a tree would give you all something to watch grow as the girls get through college and transition into families of their own. That sounds like a wonderful idea! Wishing you all a fabulous summer!

  8. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    Those activities sound a lot more fun than what I did the summer before I left home to attend the University of Missouri in Columbia. I was the middle child and had, for the most part, been able to avoid doing field work on our small farm. My older sister was my Dad's "boy" until my younger brother got old enough to help. However, my 18th summer my brother was visiting a cousin in Wyoming for much of the summer and I was recruited to help my father in the field. I drove a tractor pulling a harrow over a field that had been plowed wet and left to bake into bowling ball-sized clay boulders and I drove a tractor and raked hay for my Dad to bale and got very good at creating tidy windrows. One day my father was elevating small round hay bales up into the haymow of an old barn on my grandparents' abandoned property and asked me to go into the haymow and use a stick to roll the bales back toward the back of the haymow so they wouldn't build up under the elevator. I was running back and forth trying to keep up with the bales falling off the elevator, not realizing my Dad didn't expect me to keep up with him, and my foot went through a rotten place in the haymow floor and I grazed my shin bone all the way to my knee. I can still feel the chips in my shin bone today. I didn't stop working and finally my Dad, having unloaded the entire wagon of bales, came up to stack them in the haymow, found me bleeding, but only expressed amazement that I had been able to keep up with him and rolled the entire wagonload of bales to the rear of the haymow.. Of course we didn't bother with a doctor and I went off to university with a badly bruised and skinned up leg, but I still remember feeling so wonderful that my Dad had been pleased and surprised with my performance...just a little story in time for Father's Day.

  9. Image for Deb Wostmann Deb Wostmann

    Well, you did it. When I read the first two sentences I thought, uh oh, this is going to make me cry. Yes, indeed it did! Enough said!

  10. Image for Maureen Maureen

    Your girls are pretty amazing and so are those sons! You’ve done a wonderful job! I’m sure there will be phone calls that only you can make better as they adjust to college life. I had a few of those! I will keep them in my prayers!

  11. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Oh….what a sweet post. My, how they’ve grown up…right before our very eyes! I hope you three get to do everything on your list….great list btw! Wishing the girls all the best at Baylor! ;)

  12. Image for Paula Holloway Paula Holloway

    How very precious KariAnne! I can tell you that YES, they do come home (and will eventually bring you the most amazing blessings you can only now imagine) but it's never quite the same as when they're ALL yours. ;-) Hugs, Paula www.dimplesonmywhat.com

  13. Image for Mama-D Mama-D

    Great list of things to do, but the summer will pass so quickly, you will probably only get to do #18! Wishing them and you the best!

  14. Image for Danielle Danielle

    Oh my goodness, this makes me want to cry! What sweet memories, and such beautiful plans for this summer. My daughter is 18 and going to college. This is just precious!

  15. Image for ANN BAGBY ANN BAGBY

    As a mom we are all sorta in the same boat. Thank you for all the happy tears and great summer to do list, no matter the age! Gosh, is my mascara running???.....

  16. Image for Debbie Hernandez Debbie Hernandez

    My favorite time was summers with my kiddos. I LOVED every minute of it. I loved doing what we wanted to do instead of being on a tight school schedule. We’d spend the first week of summer deep cleaning the house especially going through closets and getting rid of clothes that were too small and THEN… summer began with ALL the play time and fun.

  17. Image for Connie Connie

    Love this post. You look like sisters. Enjoy the summer with your two cuties and remember you taught them well. A new beginning for them and also for you. You will need a semi truck to get them there since you are taking two. Love all of you.

  18. Image for Kris Kris

    I've already started summer activities with my soon-to-be college freshman. We did our annual Breakfast at the Beach earlier this week. Heading out for college orientation on Sunday. We have a road trip planned for July. Gotta soak up the moments! But I don't think he is interested in a manicure or facial!

  19. Image for karin karin

    This is so great! Your girls are going to Baylor, correct? My son will be a senior next year. It has been the most wonderful experience! He even started his own company last year! It's called Zios Health. I can send you a pack - all the kids on campus drink it and love it. It keeps them healthy and hydrated. Perfect for college students!

  20. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Sob....it is a big transition time for all of you. Embrace every moment and watch them fly. You look like triplets :)

  21. Image for LORRI LORRI

    Enjoy and I know you will do each and everyone of them. and many more.. Have a great summer and enjoy each moment with your sweet ladies.❤❤❤

  22. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Oh I love this list and spending this time together. Driving to Waco playing your favorite songs and singing on top of your lungs is right up my alley. Nothing like driving in the car with your favorite people ad loving music. I love the matching outfits and all three of you are adorable. This will be a big adjustment but these girls will strive nd do great things.

  23. Image for Lorraine Lorraine

    When I think I am going to see New content, I am seeing the same thing over and over again. Maybe I am doing wrong

  24. Image for Jessica Reichard-Lardinais Jessica Reichard-Lardinais

    I love this 18 times over! Y'all look like triplets! Enjoy your summer together - it is bound to be special.

  25. Image for Mary anne Russo Mary anne Russo

    Awww the robes are darling! You all are so cute! Gorgeous all three! It’s such an emotional time for moms when our kids go off to college. Enjoy your summer with these sweet girls

  26. Image for Dee Dee

    KariAnne, When I read this I realized how long I have been following along, and it blew my mind to think that the girls were so little and here they are going to be going off to Baylor! This is such a poignant and sweet post, and I know that God has incredible plans for them. It'll be a beautiful thing to watch it all unfold. Xoxo Dee

  27. Image for Donna Donna

    KariAnne, How bittersweet these days will be for you. I sure wish I could go back in time to live them again. But in some way you will, when your darling girls bring back their families to your home. The joys are endless. Yes, it will be a lot of work, but such a great family time. Enjoy!

  28. Image for Cara Cara

    Sounds like an eventful summer planned and I am sure they will remember it for the rest of their lives! You are a very encouraging mom to them both...

  29. Image for Jeannette Jeannette

    You are so very fortunate to have had children It made me cry. I wish I could have had the 18 great summers you have had. Have a wonderful summer and try to remember every minute.

  30. Image for ROSE ROSE

    How beautiful! I remember when my granddaughter was 3 years old and would sing along with Martina McBride “I hope you dance”! She just graduated from college, in just 3 years! She and her lab partner designed and patented a medical device and started a business. She starts medical school in August. Your story is so precious and I truly hope your beautiful daughters enjoy their college years and excel in whatever they choose. I hope they dance!!

  31. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love this and all 18 ways you will celebrate summer with those precious twins. Most importantly you are spending precious moments and time with them. Priceless.❤️❤️❤️

  32. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Please give those cuties extra hugs from a Momma missing her daughter….(who followed her parents advice and is spreading her wings in Hawaii while never forgetting her Pennsylvania roots.) Your girls will always be your babies- no matter how old they get or how far they “go to grow”. Blessings to all! Enjoy making memories this summer. Xoxo

  33. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    Well...the GREAT news is that they are going to bring home new friends from college to meet you, and BAYLOR! Are you kidding me? Fun ballgames and all kinds of activities to enjoy with them. I dreaded this time too with my kids and found out it was the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in our lives. Fast forward to today and now those same kids are bring home to the farm teenage (!) grandkids (with their friends) and it can be absolute (wonderful) chaos. lol Embrace every moment. So many wonderful chapters are ahead for you. Your girls are so adorable and they have to be so proud of you.

  34. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Best wishes to check off each one of those very great ideas! Those two smart, sweet beauties will go far in this world - with their strongly built loving foundation you have made with and for them. God bless your summer.

  35. Image for Carol Karl Carol Karl

    All such great ideas. Time goes by so fast and before you know it, they are gone. My son left home a few weeks ago leaving us as empty nesters. He didn't go far, just into the city, but I've still only seen him three times since he left. It's quite a shift. Enjoy the moments you have.

  36. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Karinanne, congrats to you and the twins. They've both grown up before our eyes too. What beautiful young ladies they've become. And I think I can finally tell them apart... maybe. I love the summer bucket list and what fun you'll have marking through everything and creating new memories with your sweet, young adults. Oh, and the three of you look more like triplets with those cute and colorful matching kimonos. Good luck this summer and all the best for a sensational upcoming college experience. -Lisa, xoxo

  37. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Beautiful! You all look so adorable in matching robes. You three look like triplets! Daughters are special, aren't they? So glad you have the summer but there will be even more special moments ahead. I promise. You watch and see! 😀❤

  38. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    Thank You for sharing this lovely and loving post. You have many good times with your daughters. Your girls are beautiful as is their mama. Enjoy the Summer together. God Bless. Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  39. Image for Bertie Bertie

    What a great list of things to do together. know you all will have a great time with good memories for later. Enjoy your summer together..........wish I had daughters to share things with.........

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