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Ten Things and My Summer House

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We love summer in this house. All the slow, let’s get up and go. Here are ten things that let you know it is summer in my house.

1) There is always an endless pile of pool/beach towels in, around, and all over the laundry room and my house. My kids love to swim; they like to be in the water; it doesn’t matter what kind of water. THEY LOVE THE WATER!! It’s no surprise; I think their momma bird IS ALSO part fish – I love the water too. Speaking of being a fish, I might need to tell you sometime about how we were floating away from land in the gulf (also see number three. ) Anytime I am near water, I am happy, and sometimes that includes a soaking rain. This summer we will visit a gulf, an ocean, a lake, a stream, a creek, and multiple bodies of water in the back of people’s houses (that sounds funny, but it is true!) and of course, there is always the hose. Still, I really encourage you to not worry to much about the towels and instead try dancing in the rain. 

2) My kids will be making a mess in the kitchen. Okay, let’s be fair, its usually a productive mess, a creative mess, a delicious mess. IT STILL IS A MESS. You see, making is far better than cleaning it UP. We discussed this on Sunday while they made pancakes in the morning, “Why do they call it making a mess, and cleaning it UP…where is up?” We ran out for church, and there was no time to clean “UP” the said pancake mess. We did clean it up when we got home. But the point is, it is far better making, then cleaning up. We still clean it up. You may see us making pancakes, homemade vanilla, cheesecake, DIY Laundry Soap and cleanser, anything handmade from jelly to pickles and slime to pizza (WARNING: not all things are always edible!) Tell me about a “mess” you sometimes make in your kitchen?

3) We do lots of road trip planning- we hardly ever PLAN ahead of time. We THINK about it in advance (I THINK that counts as planning, right?), it just takes us time to pull the trigger (sometimes because of my husband’s work schedule. He works in trauma. Trauma Happens. My life and trauma -we have become close friends. Someday you may hear more about it – perhaps in the form of a book- we’ll see how that goes because it seems I know quite a bit about trauma. Just know we are known to get up and go. Sometimes we get up and travel to far away places, on a whim, in a car with six lively people and sometimes two dogs. We’ve been known to plan a trip on a Sunday and drive to Disney on the following Tuesday (as in two days later!) So, let’s do the math, we “planned,” booked, and packed for this 18-hour trip in 48 hours with four kids ages 4, 6, 9 and 11.
One of our other favorite trips was driving to the Mountains of East Tennessee, by way of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where we stopped to ride horses through the mountain- it was quite a treat. Mountain living for a week with country wifi, no tv, an amphibious ATV (that may have been driven in a ditch by an unlicensed driver) a paddle boat on a private pond with lots of fish and no one else in sight except our family and our dear friend (a dear blogger friend who came to visit for a day). It may have been an all-time favorite trip except for the part when we almost drove off the mountain in the car, not the ATV.
We also once drove to North Myrtle Beach just two days after booking the hotel and being invited by a friend to join their family only the morning we booked the trip. That trip was like living in a slice of heaven for a short bit of time. Two years ago, we drove to DC, then Savannah, GA, then St. Augustine, FL and finished big in Disney. (We had to come home again after 10 days that was tough.) This year we already flew into Orlando and spent a few days in Disney, drove to Marco Island, followed by Tampa to fly back home. At one point, it began to look like we were also headed to Key West or Cuba because our little Kayak and Paddle Boards got pulled into the channel (see this post )… Some of us were headed out to sea. Some of us needed rescuing. It still was a fantastic trip because we find in our long, last minute journeys we learn so much about each other.

4) This one might be a favorite thing about summer and requires me to increase the miles I walk. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Or detours (see my recent blog post) but mostly ice cream. Look for our upcoming, easiest recipe ever for homemade ice cream. Shared by my dear friend who also likes ice cream, especially the homemade kind. Maybe you will stop by for some ice cream with toppings for dessert.

5) Kids “laying around.” Rooms with a manageable mess. Late nights on the deck. Life is too short. Summers days are meant never to end. Summers are for breaking the rules, being bored and leaving lots of white space on the calendar. Sometimes I wish summers would never come to an end. Since they do, sadly come to an end, we really try to embrace the slow, the quiet, the water, the sun, the garden, the spontaneous. It is always about being spontaneous. When was the last time you did something very spontaneous?

6) Our door will be wide open to invite in friendly faces. We love to have our house filled with people; it fills our hearts and your bellies. Hospitality is my jam. Remember we said we made homemade jelly…If you are in the neighborhood and we are home, stop in, pull up a chair. I am sure Jon will be cooking up something delicious to eat. If it is a weekday morning, there is always coffee and hearts willing to listen, and most likely kids are interrupting. Trust me; I do teach them not to interrupt- sometimes their excitement for people and telling their stories just makes it not always work. Wonder where they get their enthusiasm for being with people? Summers are for being with your people.

7) Lots of prayers, moments of silence, and sometimes a little bit of yelling. Remember, I am a mom to four humans (refer to number 6, and I quote, “their excitement for people….”) and two dogs who have learned to bark so we can hear them above all else! Which also means lots of forgiveness. We talk a lot about forgiveness and taking responsibility for our actions, especially when it comes to choices that end up hurting one another’s feelings.

8) You can find us outside in the garden, pulling weeds (both in the garden and in our hearts), playing yard games -sometimes with not a ton of grace- riding bikes (we love to ride bikes) and taking hikes and walks. And late night chats sitting on our deck. We LOVE to be outside and even have been found dancing in the rain (go back to number one, “we love the water, even a soaking rain.”) One time when the kids were little, Jon danced with them in the rain to the song “Maniac” as my neighbor and her then-teenage kids stood in their windows watching and laughing. I was capturing all of it; I recorded the entire thing. That will be useful someday. And I repeat, I encourage you to dance in the rain.

9) So, I know I said ten things, but I think I already said enough. Remember #5 when talking about the summer. Summer is for breaking the rules! So maybe this should come to an end. And perhaps by now, you also know I am playful.

10) Okay (said with a giggle, this is the House of Love and Laughter) I promised you ten.

So here is number 10. What will be happening this summer is we will be living. Living in the messiness and sometimes forgetting to clean it up. And realizing as we sit here, the mess does not always matter, and the mess is where we can really learn. When we are real, it’s where we find the best of us. We will be learning to love one another where we are and where we fall short. We will be asking for and offering forgiveness and learning from our mistakes.

In my house this summer, we will be welcoming others to give them a hand, a place at the table, and a space in our hearts. We will offer a soft spot to land, and we will be giving them a laugh (did you read one through nine?) We will mark our precious moments, for life is full of them, so we take lots of pictures to remember them. Not sure if I have mentioned, I have an affection for using a camera, capturing life as you picture it while blending those images with words in my heart.

When you come to my house, you will always find a whole bunch of love and endless laughter. While we will never be perfect, we still give an honest try. You will definitely see us dancing in the rain, please come join us sometime.

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