Summer of Love - a quick recap

Sep 02, 2022

I’m sitting in the room I wrote about last time. Einstein said, “Imagination is greater than knowledge.” This room used to be covered in layers of grungy, old carpet. The walls were covered in dark, rough wood panels, surrounded by built in shelves and the window covered with light blocking red velvet curtains. Imagination is a kind of faith to create in our mind before something exists in reality. We let our imagination go to work on this room.

It’s now got a Scandinavian blond wood floor, the walls are painted a clean light grey with crisp white trim, and morning light streams in the window. This is how we imagined it. It’s so satisfying to create something in your mind and then bring it into being. I’m sure you’ve done this in your own life, in big or small ways. When it happens, it’s a huge pay-off. I’m so grateful we stuck with it.


Master bedroom (after)

Master bedroom (before)

Welp, it’s been exactly 4 months to the day since I last wrote. I’ve missed you. So much has happened. I hope you had a good summer. Let me catch you up:



May + June: Emily and I (with the help of Karina, Eli and Lily) worked like crazy on one side of our duplex to get it ready for us to move in. Meanwhile, we lived on the other side. Most of our stuff was still in boxes or storage. All this happened without knowing whether we’d be able to buy the place. We were optimistic, but we didn’t know.

July: the one side was ready enough for us to move over. We got our furniture more or less set up and overlooked all the unfinished projects like no doors on the bedrooms, no blinds on the windows, and a junk-fest in the backyard. In the middle of all this, I was supposed to go to Philppines and Bali for some mini-documentaries I’m producing, but I got covid last minute and had to send everyone ahead without me. It was a little devastating, but I survived. Plus I had more time for home projects. (WIN! : ) We went to work on the side we just moved out of, getting it ready for renters to move in in August. Sprint, sprint, sprint...

Mid-July we closed on the house (huzzah!) and slept in our new beds exactly 2 nights. The other side was *mostly* ready for renters, so we hit the road. (Road trip!) It felt so good to be back out there.




We hit Nauvoo Illinois where we visited SJ who is serving a mission there giving historic tours. She is so happy and loving it there! We headed to my parents in Virginia for a spontaneous family reunion. All my siblings converged on my parents’ for a weekend, and some of stayed on for extended cousin time. Eli and Lily loved piling in with their cousins from around the country. It was good to visit as a family after more than a year away.


Mom, Dad & the Orton sibs.

Grandma & her unicorn

Emily and I flew to the British Virgin Islands where we took out three amazing couples on a sailing adventure. We island hopped, taught them our Navigator Framework, and generally have more fun than should be legal. Can’t wait to go back! After an amazing week sailing, Emily and I flew back to Virginia, picked up our kids, visited Emily's sisters in Baltimore and Hartford, spent another week with cousins, and then headed to NYC.


Scooter gang about to get real.

The amazing Drake Channel.

Snuggling back in our NYC apt. 

As you may recall, we accidentally moved to San Diego during covid (April 2021). Except for Emily, none of us had been back since then. It was all reassuringly familiar: the apartment, the park across the street, the crazy traffic on Broadway, our neighbors and friends. Being back in our own place felt secure and easy. That said, it didn’t last long. We went to work cleaning and painting to get it ready for our subletters who moved in mid-August. We began the drive back West, finding tons of surprises along the way:

  • Huron, OH – such an fun coastal town in middle-America just 10 min off I-80
  • Indiana Dunes National Park – we went to the beach in Indiana (what?!) So cool.
  • Davenport, IA – a beautiful morning walk along the river
  • Grand Island, NE – visited Winter Quarters (surprisingly touching)
  • Laramie, WY – world class off-width rock climbing in Vedawoo


Lake Michigan (like the ocean but no salt!)

The Mississippi courtesy of Iowa. 

Climbing in Vedawoo, just outside Laramie, WY


Emily in a panel with some pretty cool people.

Emily bringing it home as the final speaker.

Lily having a blast signing books.

We made it back to Utah in time for a family reunion on Emily’s side.
Emily spoke at Time Out for Women in Logan (and killed it!)
Now Lily has started high school here in Salt Lake City.
What is the world coming too!? : )



Now we’re “home.” Many have asked are you “settling down?” Home and settling down are such loaded terms, right?. We like to think of SLC as a new home base. We love it here and plan to spend lots of time here. That said, we’ve got some fun adventures planned. I’m hoping to climb Half Dome in Yosemite in a few weeks. Emily and I are doing some more sailing trips in Oct/Nov (still a couple spots open if you're interested). Emily is speaking a lot this fall, and we’re looking forward to having all our kids (except SJ) home for holidays.

Spiffy in Salt Lake.



Now for you. The school year has started. Whether you have kids or not, there’s a kind of “Okay, now we’re back in the groove”-ness that comes with September. People are starting new jobs. Vacations are winding down. The routines and rhythms resume.

How was your summer?
Was it what you hoped?
Was it satisfying?
What do you want more or less of?
What are you excited about for the fall?

So much of these past 4-5 months has been a culmination of stuff Emily and I imagined in our minds, with a healthy dose of “I have no idea where this is going.” Uncertainty mixed with hope. As I look back, I see it all and I love it. I love it because it shaped me. I love it because there were so many reversals, dashed expectations and unexpected breakthroughs. Through it all, Emily and I felt a surprisingly level of peace. And for that I’m grateful.



So what’s next for you?
What are you excited about?
What are you looking forward to?

Here’s what’s up on the docket for us.

In addition to Yosemite and the BVI, Emily and I are excited to offer couples coaching starting later this month. More about that in the coming weeks. Our goal is to help moms and dads have less fear and more fun in their lives.

Whether your summer turned out the way you hoped or not, I hope you feel optimistic about this new season. The heat will shift to cool, crisp air. We’ll start wearing hoodies more and more. Halloween stuff will show up in the stores way too early. (You've seen it already, haven't you?) Before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Whatever your future holds, I hope it’s full of fun and the stuff that matters most to you.

We’ve missed you. We’re glad to be back. 









Family first doesn't mean Mom + Dad last.

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