Sunday, September 6, 2015

Memorable Summer Moments #2-5

Argh! It's already September 6th! How could that possibly be correct? With autumn knocking on my door, here are memorable summer moments #2-5.

#2 - Friends. We have been blessed to see the outpouring of friendship this summer. From friends who let us stay in their homes to friends who shared a fun outing...

Friends helped me laugh this summer. They helped me see the blessings. And they were a source of therapy and comfort.
Dump visit with Jess!
 Beach day with Shelley - my best friend from high school. How is it that we are in our 40s with SO MANY CHILDREN? Wasn't it yesterday we were driving to school together in the cold mornings, singing Match-Maker on the stage, and toilet-papering Brad's room?
Re-connecting with overseas friends was a reminder that friendship transcends time, oceans, and continents. How I needed this short but precious visit with Melissa!  It was a balm to my soul to connect with someone with whom I shared the Jakarta experience. And in her 6-year-old way, Charlotte's reconnection with Tate was equally, if not more, important. 

Shana and Jesca! How we love you! How we love the stories, the laughter, the meals at Exeter, the night at the fair, the ice cream at the farmer's market...
Fish and chips at Portsmouth, NH, followed by ice cream...of course!
Then there was the serendipitous meeting at the Piano Guys Concert with my dear friend, Corinne.  
Then there are the un-photographed moments: The pancake breakfast with Karen when we played hooky from the ward's 4th of July breakfast because it was just too dang early. The SYTYCD sessions in Jess's basement. The long runs with Maria where I poured my heart out as we compared mothering moments. This summer, experiences with friends reminded me what is important in life and gave me so many reasons to celebrate. 

#3 New England Escape
It has been over ten years since I've traveled back to Boston and Cape Cod. This spontaneous trip ended up being the recreational highlight of the summer. It was the first time my children had visited my old stomping grounds from my Sophomore to Senior years of high school.

We visited Faniuel Hall in Boston and dined on scallops wrapped in bacon, crab rolls, and Boston Cream pie. We saw the swan boats and walked to the Old North Church.
We spent one morning in Sandwich, walking down main street and drinking water from the spring fountain at the Dexter Grist Mill. I introduced my children to the boardwalk and Sandwich Town Beach.
This week-long escape was just that: a much needed escape. A reminder that life is good and fun.

#4 Owen's Garden

Owen broke ground on his garden a full month before we broke ground on the house. He had the electric fence up and running to keep out the deer before the foundation of the house was poured. And we've reaped the benefits of the garden all summer long. The only problem? What do we do with 30 GIGANTIC zucchinis?

#5 Morning Runs

This is where I worked out all my frustrations. This is where I shared time with my running daughters and was even joined by Truman and Amelia on occasion. This was my place solace. This was one of the few places where I felt in control of my out-of-control summer.

I was sad to say goodbye to my children as they started school this week. But honestly, I wasn't too sad to say goodbye to summer 2015. However, looking back - especially with the lens of perspective - I realize it wasn't so bad at all. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Memorable Summer Moments (Post 1)

This is not a typical top ten summer moments least not typical for me. 

In my last post I called our summer “the lost summer.” And yet, as I look back we managed to certainly build memories, just not in the typical summer-recreational way. And so, during this first week of the 2015 school year, I want to pay tribute to our summer with a top 5 list.

Top Summer Memorable Moments:

#1 The House

It’s really quite amazing to watch a house built. I remember walking the perimeter of the giant hole in the ground last fall, careful to not step too close to the edge. The sheerness of the in-the-ground walls seemed to defy everything I knew about dirt. I tried to imagine a basement and house in its place. Then we watched the cement, framing, wiring, plumbing…all the layers of work. The process seemed sluggish at times, like trying to watch the earth rotate. And at other times (especially during the roof and siding installation), the progress seemed magical in its speed.

One favorite part of the building process for the kids was the massive dirt pile. While Owen and I worked or met with our builder, Thomas, the kids played fort or “Lord of the Rings” or army out on the dirt pile. Shoes came back coated with red clay. Legs and arms wore a thin film of red dust. It nearly broke Charlotte’s heart when we told her the dirt mound was not a permanent part of the new

One of the least-favorite (but memorable) parts of building was our brilliant decision to save money and paint the entire house ourselves. Owen and I have done lots of painting during our married lives, so we thought (naively) how hard can painting a house be? Let me tell you…we were unprepared for the hours and hours and hours of work.

First, picking the paint. This was a painstaking process. I credit my husband with patience beyond anything I’ve ever seen from him. Thirteen test colors of gray on my walls before I fell in love with Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray. Best color ever!! 

It took seven blues before choosing three different ones (I couldn't pick just one) to go in the master bedroom, the office, and mudroom.

Then there was the family room paint fiasco. Owen painted an entire room before I decided it was the wrong color. He and Grandad, with great patience and love, repainted the room. We eventually went with the lighter color: a beautiful Benjamin Moore Edgecomb gray, and I'm soooo glad we made the change!

Then came the trim. Every baseboard. Every window. Every door. (They're still not done). And the hated, loathed, cursed closets! How I hate painting closets (they’re also still not done).

But I loved painting with Elise. We sang Christmas songs and hymns to pass the time. And on the 4th of July weekend we enjoyed the company of the Petersons and Tyler Davis who helped us make progress.

I could go on and on about picking tiles, hours spent online looking at lighting options, and sitting for 10 hours with Kim at Home Depot crunching numbers and making adjustments to fit our cabinets budget. But perhaps those moments are not worth remembering. They are the clutter of my summer. The lost hours. I’d rather remember the moments with my family…of Charlotte wearing red dust from head-to-toe, of Owen and Grandad returning home after a painting day, covered in paint, looking like they’d returned from an expedition to the top of Mount Everest, and of Christmas hymns in July with Elise.