Sunday, August 7, 2016

my love-hate relationship with summer (plus 300 days of beauty, days 65-82)

summer garden beauty

I confess, I sometimes feel that I hate summer. I also confess that I wrote most of this over one month ago and then disappeared down the rabbit hole that summer schedules tend to be. I've never like Alice In Wonderland.

Each year I walk through the same diagnostic state, evaluating why summer is so very challenging. Several reasons: the randomness of summer activities and options, constant people (I do like people, but need time alone too...), and kids who suddenly see unlimited potential in every moment, every day.

I can be random and spontaneous, but my brain cannot keep track of the amount of outings and appointments that are so far above our normal level. I would consider myself a social introvert—I love people, but need “hermit days” to rest and recharge, which summer does not oblige. And my adorable, wonderful kids, whom I love to death, ask me 50,000 questions before 10 in the morning and have a hard time accepting that fun cannot be 24/7. Real life still exists. I wish Mary Poppins were a real person, but she is not. The house does not clean itself.

I began the summer ridiculously overwhelmed. Burned out from the year, transitioning to summer—like being on a pot-holed highway and hitting a rocky, washed out dirt road. Now (in a flash) I have arrived in August. And I would say that we have lived in a happy-exhausted-flurried-blur of summer scenes. Family, friends, neighbors, food, laughter, pool days, books, gardens, parks, rivers, walks, hikes, bike rides, iced coffees and ice cream cones.

We've had good days, hard days and the messy beautiful sprinkled and scattered throughout. I have not settled down to write in this space, but have been capturing beauty in each day through my camera lens and my phone (Instagram is wonderful, but may have killed my blog...). I also have decided to declare the first three week of June “no man's land”; not belonging to spring or summer, a time to plan, rest, and see what we want our summer to be. I realize not everyone has this flexibility. I can choose my summer because we homeschool, others cannot. However, I think a space with no pressure or expectations, even if just for a week is a sweet gift for a weary heart and frenetic pace of life.

In spite of the layout of my schedule, I've grabbed my moments. Time to be still. Time to savor. Time to breathe. Summer and I have come to a generally peaceful truce. We still have adventures ahead as we plow through August. I'm thankful (and still tired). And I may or may not have been dreaming of winter yesterday...

Here's snapshots of our summer beauty:

swim team, swim meets, and pool days
laughter--meaning she had the grocery store laughing. She has found unique ways to hitch rides in the grocery store since birth. I think I may have finally given up fighting it.
summer sunsets--I know, right? Breath-taking.
My kitchen has looked like this...often. Filters make it look almost artistic. There is a beauty in letting go. This is where we were for awhile and it's okay.

breakfast parfaits and morning devotionals...I do like lazy summer mornings...
river vistas and time with family...the Missouri River...
Costco date with my girl who LOVES hotdogs!
mini-bagels and cream cheese--I kid you not that we have mostly survived on these...devouring bags upon bags and tubs of cream cheese (cooking is at a minimum in the summer)
lots of reading...we read wherever we go... #ohtheplacesweread
visits to my hometown to be with family
when "pop and pizza" place settings look artistic--more than that, this evening was spent with my brother and parents with conversation and laughter (and lots of pizza!)
when my daughter uses the steam from my coffee to warm her hands in the morning...still makes me smile... "It's SOOO toasty warm!"
lots of tree-climbing--all of my kids use the trees to have a quiet space for their hearts...
paddle-boating--laughter and LOTS of geese (geese not shown...;-))
when Jack and Jill went up a hill...cousin time

water balloon need for the catcher, D hit nearly EVERY ONE...

I love windmills.

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