summertime in the country

We are all products of where we were raised. Of course we all have personal preferences, and may end up roaming far and wide from our home town. It is so true though that what we grew up in, the type of place where we spent our formative years, gives a huge weight to what we consider normal.

I am a country girl at heart, Lord have Mercy, I really am. Give me woods and trees, interspersed with long, wide, ranging fields. Give me no buildings for miles, and your next door neighbors being a football field away. Give me breezes that smell only of trees, grass, flowers... and yes, maybe a touch of manure or skunk, but not exhaust or hot pavement.

Gwen is very much a girl of the suburbs. Not a city girl, by any means... a yard is a must for her. But she would find it all a bit shocking and scandalous not to have multiple grocery stores within a 10 minute ride, or not to be able to hit up a restaurant of any cuisine anytime we desired.

But here's the good news. In the hot of the summer, she too becomes a bit of a country girl. My roots, the root of her roots, show in her love of Nonnie's big flower gardens. Her desire to be outside and see only animals and plants. To have her bare feet firmly planted in the grass, the sun on her face, and the birds providing the music of her days.

I'm so glad.

There is nothing wrong with suburb or urban living, but there is something so grounding and healing about seeing your child find solace and peace in the same place that instantly calms your soul. No matter how far we or she roams, I want her to know that this countryside belongs to her too.
For all of her days.



One of the best things about Cape Cod (and Wanderlust before that... and my brother's wedding since then...) was the fact that I knew I couldn't do a lick of house hunting or other particular things while I was there, so I just forgot about it completely. I mean completely, didn't cross my mind even for a semi-second, not even once.

And it was (pardon my crass) f*cking wonderful. 
Have you ever noticed when you’re tired, your fingers don’t grip things as tightly as they should? That things slip through them more often than you wish? I feel as though I am those fingers and life is slipping through me. 
– Kelsey Danielle (from “Life And Other Things”)

Lord have mercy, I have spent so much damn time thinking about things that I don't have control over lately. Focused on things that I absolutely have to focus on, but have absolutely no control over how they turn out. Its exhausting.

Those breaks were wonderful, but I needed more. So I distract... and play the "when I get to decorate my house and money is no object" game.

Who hasn't played that one, right? 

What would you buy? Me? I'm lusting over a few things.

A wide rough planked farmhouse table:

Maybe one that my dad and I make together from reclaimed wood.

One of these amazing coffee tables made of reclaimed wood and glass:

Fun, funky, nature touches... like this banister:

A completely amazing bookshelf:

A large, cozy window seat... view NOT optional!:

And maybe a killer awesome bunk bed for Gwen, like one of these (though with only two beds):

What do you daydream about when you need distractions?


celebrating love and family

My baby brother got married on July 18th!

Let's rewind a week though, to when Gwen came down with a gross cold, and I came down with a panic attack of epic proportions that I was going to get it and be sneezing and sniffing and red nosing it through said wedding. I did not, thankfully!

In fact, it was a beautiful day, really so lovely. The celebrations started on Thursday when all the bridesmaids and I took Elise out to a "bachelorette" dinner of sorts. I spent the night at Ethan and Elise's place, and Friday was spent baking wedding pies!

Instead of a wedding cake, they had a whole table full of beautiful pies that their friends and family baked. 

Friday night was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, then Saturday was the big day! Elise wore vintage and the boys wore kilts! The flowers were dried and involved lavender, so they smelled amazing. Gwen (the "bubble girl") took one look down the aisle and immediately headed the other way. Ha... oops. 

But even with that, their day was perfection. 

(Sorry for the blurry iPhone shots... hopefully pro-pictures soon!)

We have some amazing family, and Elise's family is just as sweet. All of their friends are wonderful too. So the whole day was spent surrounded by good people.

The wedding itself was sweet and emotional. I had no where to look without seeing someone crying tears of joy, so I gave up and cried a little myself!  ;-)   It was held at the Kay Spiritual Life Center, on the AU campus... the place where Ethan and Elise had met!

The reception was across the street at the Methodist church that E&E are a part of. There was brunch foods and dancing, and some of our favorite people for socializing.

And pie, of course... so much pie!

After the reception ended, we headed to Wray and Susie's for a little... then it was back home for a relaxing Sunday at home to recover!

I'm so glad we got this chance to celebrate with Ethan and Elise! What a beautiful, lucky, expanded family we are! 


while Mama's away...

Trav and Gwen generally do better together when I'm not there to act as an exasperated ringleader. They love and fight each other with fire of two people who are way too much alike.

[Little aside before I even get into what I really wanted to write:

When we were driving back from Cape Cod, this scene took place.
Trav (singing along to whatever music was playing in his head): Take me awayyyyy....
Gwen (quietly, but resolutely from the back seat): Yeah, and leave him there.

My snort was barely contain, and the look on his face was pretty priceless.]

I don't think I mentioned it at the time, but while I was away at Wanderlust, Trav and Gwen were home together. The whole time, all five days, no school, no work, just together. All the time, together.

I noticed back in the late winter/early spring that Gwen's daycare was closed for a few days in June. It was a surprise (I'm not sure why, but apparently we just never noticed those 3 days!); but my biggest concern at first was that I'd have trouble getting the days off since I was already taking time off for Wanderlust and Cape Cod. Imagine my relief/alarm/surprise when the only 3 days her school was closed that month were the exact 3 work days that I was off for Wanderlust. What were the odds?

Poor Trav. He was a bit... put out, at first. That is a long time to have to entertain your 5 year old on your own with absolutely no adult back up! Ro and Pat were working during the week of course, and unfortunately were away that weekend as well. All ended well, of course, but I can see that information being a shock to the system when your wife dumps it on you pretty unceremoniously.


But, Trav figured if he had to take the days off, then he might as well make the most of it. While Mama's away, her babies will play. They ended up having a great time without me!

Highlights: a trip to the zoo! going to see my parents over the weekend (other adults!)! the last day of tennis!

The zoo was great.  Her only complaint was that she and Trav missed one section. Otherwise she loved it.

There were movies on other days. And trips to Home Depot (she gets very excited about that place!). 

She helped Trav replace the toilet seat that I despised! 

Going to my parents house was the much needed break that Trav needed by that point (Saturday). And Gwen was having so much fun with the post-tennis party (Sunday) that when I called to tell her and Trav I was on my way home, she barely got out a "great, see ya soon," before she was running back to play.  (Thankfully for my emotional state, she was much more excited about my actual arrival home!)

All-in-all, it was a successful Mom's trip away for them too!


and then her garden grew... or not

Its even bigger now... this pic is from pre-Cape Cod!
For the first time in a few years now, we didn't plant a garden. We weren't sure what would be happening housewise (we still aren't... ::sigh::), and didn't want to plant lovely veggies and herbs only to have them end up neglected. Seeing as we are still right here in July, I'm already missing the beans and fresh herbs!

That said, with Mother Nature when there is a will, there is a way. And in this case, when there is compost and old roots, there will be mint (so much mint) and a random squash plant (of some kind)! Hurray!

I don't know if anything will come of the squash (though its looking promising with some flowers already blooming!), but I do know that at very least I won't be out my favorite mint lemonade slushes this summer.  :-)

I'm already looking forward to next summer. Travis will absolutely be building me a new bed wherever we end up! 

What are you growing in your garden this summer?


away we go... {Cape Cod}

June, my favorite month so far - seeing as I was on vacation for almost half of it - has come and gone, and so has Cape Cod. It was just as wonderful this year, as any other, and maybe even more so because with every new year Gwen is more independent and can do more without us, therefore allow us more rest times. More actual, you know, vacation... ;-)  I read my way through 1 and 1/2 Harry Potter books, so I'd say I had some good relaxing time.

Prepare yourself, vacation is often best recapped by pictures... 

We headed up Friday evening (and had a very easy drive!), so our first real day there was Saturday. Even though it was chilly and overcast, my boy and my girl could not wait to hit up the lake beach. So that's what we did....

I stayed warm, reading in the sand...

The water was so clear off the dock it looked like a puddle... but that's deep enough to be over my head!

We also hit up our favorite ice cream joint (Four Seas) for the first, but definitely not the last, time.

Sunday was more of the same. I think this was the first year that we were the first one's at the house (of immediate family)... so we really enjoyed our first few days to ourselves.

Ice cream, trips to the lake beach, and reading.

Monday we headed in-land. First for a quick jaunt to North Easton to meet a girlfriend of mine and her 3 kids. Then North-Westward to see the Quads. I million years ago when I was in college, I used to watch these amazing kids as a Mother's Helper/Babysitter. From age 1 to age 5 these lovelies were my babies too! 3 days a week, 4 hours a day!

With little brother, Sam, to my right.
At one point, I could carry all four of these kids at the same time! Now I'm the shortest of the bunch.

It absolutely blows my mind, and I really hope the next ten years with Gwen go slower then the last 10 years since these guys moved up to the Boston area.

Trav's parents arrived on Tuesday... though it didn't change our days too much!

There were two days that it rained... one torrentially, with a tornado warning to boot. But otherwise we had really great weather. Cool, but nice. Sunny and breezy.

Thursday Trav's oldest brother, Scott, and his wife and step-kids arrived.

Friday we went to a Hyannis Harbor Hawks baseball game. They have an amazing summer league there that draws kids from colleges around the country!

Friday we all went to the ocean beach, where I ran into another girlfriend and her kids.

Saturday, Trav and I snuck away for a nice lunch alone...

One of our favorite chowder places (Baxters), with one of our favorite views!

Gwen hit up the 4th of July Parade with her Nana and PopPop. When they got back she and I walked down to the lake beach one more time.

Sunday came too quickly for all of us.

Rare that I get to wake up first and see this next to me!

We had packed 90% the night before, so we got up, showered, ate breakfast and got the rest of the stuff in the car. We said our goodbyes and before we knew it we were on the road.

The trip home was a lot longer, but we made it. And then it was back to work.

I'm so happy that we all get to make these great memories in Cape Cod... but I'm especially glad that Gwen gets to have this place that she loves to visit so very much. I'm already looking forward to all our visits for years to come.