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Serenity To Go

In honor of America’s birthday tomorrow, I thought I’d share with you something that has been brightening up my Instagram feed considerably these days.  Instagram is probably my current favorite social media vehicle – I love the casual glimpses into my friends’ lives, and the beautiful or uplifting pictures posted by the accounts I follow.  And lately, Instagram has been one of my favorite ways to get a fix of gorgeous shots of stunning natural scenery.  I follow REI, Camp Trend, and National Geographic Adventures, among other nature-loving accounts.  But today, I want to show you some of my favorite Instagrammers – the accounts managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and by several of our most beautiful national parks.  Observe–

U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior)

The Interior Department’s Instagram feed mainly consists of national park images.  Since I follow some of the national park feeds, but not others, I like getting glimpses into the rest of the park system.  For instance, this image of Great Smoky Mountains National Park took my breath away.

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And look at this shot of Glacier Bay.  It combines two of my favorite things: national parks and whales.  (Whales are my favorite animals.  Fun fact: the first gift hubby ever gave me was a humpback whale adoption.)

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One more:

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The only problem with the U.S. Interior feed?  They keep posting shots of national preserves and areas I didn’t even know existed, and as a result, my travel bucket list is blowing up.

National Parks

In addition to the U.S. Interior feed, I also follow a few national park feeds.  I haven’t been to nearly enough national parks, but hubby and I are hoping to correct this over the next few years.  (I’ve been to Acadia, Yosemite and Great Falls National Parks, to Muir Woods National Monument, and to the Point Reyes and Cape Hatteras National Seashores.  A good list, but nowhere even close to what I would wish.  These Instagram feeds are tiding me over until we can make a trip out west, hopefully next year.)

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Yosemite is my favorite national park.  I visited the park when I was twelve and I still remember my first sights of the spectacular Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, and swimming in the pristine Merced River.  I wish I could go back RIGHT NOW.

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I haven’t been to Rocky Mountain National Park, but my brother – who lives in Colorado – has.  I follow the park’s Instagram feed for a dose of Colorado scenery.  We’re hoping to get out there to visit my brother and sister-in-law soon, and when we do, RMNP will definitely be on the agenda.

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Arches National Park will also be on the agenda when we visit my brother – we’re hoping to do a family road trip from Boulder to Moab and check out several national parks along the way.  I mean, how spectacular are those arches?

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Another park I’ve never seen in person, but I really, really want to visit Mount Rainier National Park.  We’re also talking about a trip to the Pacific Northwest, so hopefully I’ll be able to check this one off the list within the next couple of years.  Meanwhile, this account is contributing some of the most spectacular images in my Instagram feed.

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And look at this trail.  This picture has me reaching for my hiking boots.  See what I mean about my travel bucket list?

And lastly,

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Shenandoah!  So beautiful.  One of my biggest regrets is not getting to Shenandoah when we lived in DC and northern Virginia.  I am kicking myself for never making it there in ten years – and it was so close.  A few times my alumni club went on outings to climb Old Rag, but I was never able to join them.  We do have plans to go back to DC this summer, but I don’t think we’ll make it to Shenandoah.  We have a long list of friends we want to see and I doubt we’ll have time for a big day trip (although we definitely plan to go back to Great Falls while we’re there – my favorite spot in the area).

Although I haven’t been to enough of the national parks, monuments or preserves, I love the fact that they exist.  “America’s best idea” is, in my opinion, one of the finest things about our country.  Hubby and I recently finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary on the national parks and now we’re itching to visit all of them.  But travel is tricky with two tinies and our demanding lawyer jobs, so in the meantime, I’m taking my serenity to go, in the form of these spectacular images that pop up in my Instagram feed on a daily basis.

Happy birthday, America!

 

Reading Round-Up Header

Reading is my oldest and favorite hobby.  I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to curl up with a good book.  Here are my reads for June, 2015

The Anchoress, by Robin Cadwallader – Seventeen-year-old Sarah is an anchoress, a holy woman enclosed inside a sealed cell attached to a medieval church.  She became an anchoress in order to escape a harsh world – a world where her mother and sister both died in childbirth, and where the local lord’s cruel son is relentlessly pursuing Sarah’s hand in marriage.  But even shutting herself away can’t keep the world out of Sarah’s cell.  This was a stirring and fascinating novel.  I’d never heard of anchorites and anchoresses before, and I was enthralled (and also sort of horrified) by the idea.  I had some concern that a novel taking place almost entirely within a tiny enclosed room would be slow or dull, but it wasn’t.  The writing elevated this, and I couldn’t put it down.  Highly recommended.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig – Meh.  I’m a Whole30 enthusiast, as longtime readers may know, and I just recently finished my third time through the program.  I grabbed this book from the holds shelf to read during my most recent Whole30, thinking it would give me the motivation to finish strong, but to be honest, I wasn’t really convinced.  I found the folksy tone irritating and distracting, and the science unconvincing.  It’s odd, because I know that the Whole30 works well for me, so you’d think I would have had a more positive reaction to the book.  I’m glad I got it from the library instead of buying it.

The Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman – Hubby and I read the original The Five Love Languages years ago and really liked it.  We found it helpful to identify our love languages and apply them to our daily interactions, and we still talk about the love languages even eight years after reading the book.  So I had high hopes for some really good insight into applying the love languages to kids.  There was a bit of kid-specific insight, but I also found that there was a lot of repetition.  The most important takeaways I found were: (1) if your child is under 8 or so, you probably won’t be able to identify her love language, so you need to make the effort to speak all five; and (2) the reverse of your child’s love language is also very important – i.e. if your kid is a “words of affirmation” person, praise will be particularly meaningful to her, but harsh words will be particularly damaging, so watch your mouth!

Naptime is the New Happy Hour, and Other Ways Toddlers Turn Your Life Upside Down, by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor – I grabbed this from the library because Wilder-Taylor has a new toddler essay book out and I wanted to see what her writing was all about before I went to a big effort to get the newest.  This was mildly amusing, but nothing amazing.  I liked how Wilder-Taylor lampooned perfectionist moms, and I chuckled appreciatively a few times, but I could have skipped it and been just fine.

The Inner Circle (Culper Ring #1), by Brad Meltzer – Great literature it is not, but I found The Inner Circle to be decently fun.  I was a bit confused by some of the plot points (and I still don’t understand the cancer plot, that part just made no logical sense) but I liked the glimpse inside the Archives, and it was fun to make a fictional foray inside the Beltway.  I’ll probably continue with the series.

The Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry – On Christmas Eve, a calf is born inside Harley Jackson’s barn.  The calf has a perfect image of Jesus Christ on its flank, and Harley’s first reaction is to say, “Well, that’s trouble.”  Harley attempts to hide the calf, but word (of course) gets out and soon he has a Hollywood agent, a spiritual theme park, and hordes of pilgrims on his farm.  Hijinks follow, naturally, along with a good deal of cleverly buried philosophy.  This was a slim novel, but provided plenty of thought material wrapped up in a really clever premise.  Recommended.

Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume – I really enjoyed the first book in the summer of #BlumeAlong, hosted by Kerry of Entomology of a Bookworm.  Margaret Simon does a lot of growing up in this iconic novel of bras, periods, and spiritual seeking.  Somehow I managed to get through young adulthood without reading this classic, so I’m glad I’ve rectified the omission.  For my full review, see here.

Love the Home You Have, by Melissa Michaels – Michaels, creator of the Inspired Room blog, presents a slim but encouraging volume about cultivating contentment and learning to love your current home, even if it’s not your forever home.  There was nothing particularly novel or earth-shattering about her advice, but it was a lot of what I need to hear right now.  I’m still homesick for Northern Virginia every day, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much I have to do to update our current house.  More on this to come, maybe.  I appreciated Michaels’ gentle motivation, I’m trying to take her lessons to heart, and I think I may actually have a lot to say about this topic.  Stay tuned for possible future posts.

In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume – Two Blume novels in one month!  I must be on some kind of kick.  In the Unlikely Event is Blume’s first novel for adults in some seventeen years, focusing on real events that occurred in the winter of 1952 in Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.  Blume was a teenager there when three planes plummeted from the sky in the span of just 58 days, leaving the entire community rocked and reeling.  Here, Blume revisits the tragedies through fictional Miri Ammerman, her family, and her friends, whose lives are all changed in big and small ways by the disasters.  I found the novel utterly riveting and more than a little bit distressing.  It was complex (lots of characters!), beautifully written, and I think it will be a popular book club choice.  Highly recommended!

Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin – I think I’m on something of a Gretchen Rubin kick.  In the past two months I’ve read her bestselling The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home, and now her latest.  I liked this one, and found that there was definitely some good thought material here, but I wasn’t as big of a fan as I was of the happiness books.  While she seemed funny and sweet (if a bit neurotic) in the happiness books, here Rubin comes across as a bit of a killjoy, and more than a little bit judgmental.  (I did enjoy the fact that her sister called her out on it, and props to Rubin for including that conversation in the book.)  Still, I did find myself making note of a few concepts that I want to explore more, so look for a blog post on that next week.  Recommended for Gretchen Rubin fans, but don’t expect this to be quite as inspiring as the happiness books.

What a month!  Nugget’s continuing preference for napping in my arms has meant that I’ve gotten quite a bit of reading done, and I’m not complaining about that AT ALL.  I cherish the hours we spend relaxing in his upholstered rocker while he snoozes and I lose myself between pages.  I’ll miss this when I head back to the office at the end of the summer, so I’m going to enjoy every moment now.  It was a pretty good month, content-wise, too.  The Jesus Cow and In the Unlikely Event were definitely the highlights.  I was a little underwhelmed by some of my other selections – and I actually abandoned another book, Disclaimer, some 120 pages in, which I NEVER do.  But overall it’s been a good month, and I’m looking forward to another good month to come… including some BEACH reading!  Can’t wait.

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Blah.  Monday.  It rained here all weekend, and we ended up scrapping some plans I was really excited about.  On Saturday I’d intended to run a 10K but bailed when I woke up exhausted, with a wobbly ankle, and to a forecast of driving rain and 40 mph wind gusts.  Then, of course, I beat myself up over bailing.  In the afternoon, we had planned to attend the Roycroft Art Festival with our friends Zan and Paul, and then have a picnic, but with rain steadily pouring down, by 2:00 I had to admit to Zan (and myself) that it wasn’t going to happen.  It’s an outdoor festival, rain or shine, and it was just too nasty to take Nugget out.  We did get a surprise dinner invitation from my inlaws, which was delightful, but I was still in a bad mood – mad at myself over the 10K and bummed about the loss of the festival and picnic.  We really needed a fun weekend, too.  Hubby, Peanut and I are all nursing summer colds, and Nugget is going through the dreaded four month sleep regression.  It had been a week of coughing and lost sleep, making us all tired and snappish, and I was counting on two days of fun to restore our equilibrium.  Alas, it was not to be.

Although the weekend was mainly a dud, I did get some reading in – mostly on Sunday, while Nugget made up for a Saturday nap strike by snoozing on my lap most of the afternoon.  I finished Gretchen Rubin’s newest book, Better Than Before, and while I liked it, I didn’t think it was quite as inspiring as her Happiness Project books.  More on this to come on Wednesday, when I post my June reading round-up, and next week as well.  I wrapped up Better Than Before last night and am now moving on to The Elephant Whisperer, which my mom recommended to me after her entire book club adored it.

Of course, the sun is out now.  I’m trying not to be annoyed that it waited until Monday to show its face.  At least I can get Nugget out for a nice stroll, and when Peanut gets home from school I think the evening light will be perfect for a photo shoot for her third (!) birthday party invitations.  Happy new week, my friends!

What are you reading today?

New-Jersey-You-God-Me-Margaret-Judy-Blume

Ahhhhhh, Judy Blume.  Probably one of the most prolific – and beloved – middle grade and young adult authors, well, ever.  She’s been all over the bookish news lately, as she just released her first adult novel in seventeen years (In the Unlikely Event, which I also read and loved this month).  In honor of Blume’s new novel, Kerry of Entomology of a Bookworm proposed a readalong featuring two of Blume’s all-time greats: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Summer Sisters.  As I mentioned in my responses to Kerry’s kickoff questions, Blume was a big part of my reading childhood.  I believe – although my mom can correct me if I’m wrong – that my first forays into the Blume canon were the Fudge books, starting with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  (I haven’t thought about those books in years, but I do still have a soft spot for that trouble-making Fudge.  Hope my kids love the Fudge books as much as I did.)  I eventually moved on to the young adult novels, and my favorite was Just as Long as We’re Together.  (Apparently there’s a sequel, Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson.  How did I not know that?)  But one I missed, somehow, was Blume’s all-time classic, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.  So when Kerry suggested a readalong, naturally, I jumped on the chance to remedy that omission.

The Plot…

When the novel opens, Margaret Simon and her family are preparing for a move from New York City to New Jersey.  Although Margaret’s parents justify the move with reasons like fresh air – more space – better schools, Margaret suspects that they might also be trying to get her away from her grandmother.  Grandma is a devout Jew who would love for Margaret to join the religion – which makes Margaret’s agnostic parents uncomfortable.  Still, Grandma is a darn sight better than the grandparents on the other side.  Margaret’s mom was raised Christian, and her father was Jewish, and when they decided to marry, Mom’s parents cut them out of the family.  (The reader does well to remember that this book takes place in the 1970s; I don’t know that the story line would be as realistic if written today.  At least, I hope it wouldn’t.)

As Margaret settles into life in the suburbs, she finds herself swept into new friendships.  The gregarious Nancy Wheeler takes Margaret under her wing and invites her to join a secret club, the Pre-Teen Sensations, in which all members must wear bras and alert the others when they get their first periods.  And thus begins a year of growth in which Margaret convinces her mother to buy her a training bra and anxiously awaits her first period.  (Reading this book as an adult, all I wanted to say to Margaret was, “Oh, honey.  Trust me, bras and periods are not nearly as exciting as you think.  Don’t rush it!”)  Margaret immerses herself in junior high, with all its worries about friends and boys and reputations.  Meanwhile, she continues to spend time with Grandma and deals with more family drama as her other grandparents suddenly seem to want to be in her life.

It’s a lot for a Pre-Teen Sensation to handle, but Margaret has a confidante: God.  Although Margaret is “no religion,” she still keeps up a steady stream of conversation with God, pouring out all her hopes, dreams, and questions.  Why would Mom keep secret from Dad the fact that she sent Margaret’s grandparents a Christmas card?  And please, come on God, help a girl out in the bra department!  Also, while we’re at it, when is Margaret going to get that elusive period?  The other girls are shocked at Margaret’s non-religious family; how will she know whether she’s supposed to go to the YMCA or the JCC?  For a class assignment, Margaret spends the year attending various religious services, trying to figure out what religion would be her best fit – but none of the churches or temples seem right.  Margaret feels uninspired at best, and at worst, like a fish on the minister’s hook.  (She spends a lot of time counting hats.)  In the end (spoiler alert!) Margaret realizes that her relationship with God – personable, friendly and intimate – is exactly what she needs.  Especially when he finally obliges on that whole period thing.

My Thoughts…

Like I said, I loved Judy Blume’s novels as a kid.  So I’d bet that, had I read this at age 13 instead of 33, it would have really spoken to me.  (Except, maybe, the period stuff.  I don’t remember ever being so excited over that particular milestone.  More nervous that it would arrive at an inopportune time.)  Even now, I really enjoyed it, and I think my adult perspective shed light on certain aspects of the book that would have been completely lost on me as a pre-teen or young teenager.  (For example, I cringed at the casual cruelty the girls displayed toward Laura Danker, but I also recognized that their behavior was rooted in jealousy, which I think I would have missed twenty years ago.)

The best part of the book, for me, was watching Margaret’s evolving relationship with God.  When the book begins, God is a sounding board, a place to lob worries about friends and boys and seriously, God, when is Margaret going to get her period, I mean COME ON already.  (I particularly enjoyed one scene in which Margaret, getting ready for a party, decides to stuff her new bra with cotton balls and then says, in effect, see, God, I just need a little help here.)  Yet as Margaret attends different religious services, she comes to recognize that her personal relationship with God is more fulfilling than the rote recitation of lines she doesn’t even understand.  And that she doesn’t need to know whether she’ll go to the YMCA or the JCC, because what she has is deeper than the external trappings of religion.  While it’s true that, at the end of the book, God is still a sounding board for friend and boy troubles (although at least Margaret has her period now, thanks, God!) Margaret is much more comfortable with the idea of charting her own religious path.

All things considered, I really did enjoy this book.  There was an awful lot of bra-and-period talk, but it’s Judy Blume, so that’s pretty much a given.  There was also a lot of wisdom sprinkled in.  So – better late than never – I’m very glad I’ve finally gotten to know Margaret Simon.

Have you ever read Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret?  What did you think?

Garden Update

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Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been a month since Peanut and I planted our garden.  As expected, some things are growing well and other things… aren’t.  This year is all about learning what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully after the season ends I’ll have some good knowledge to build on next year.  So, with that, here’s how things currently stand:

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The lettuces (one pot of red leaf and one of mixed leaf) are doing well.  I worry that they’re a little crowded in the pots, but they must be happy enough because they’re consistently producing plenty of nice, tender leaves.  I’ve plucked quite a few salads from these pots and the lettuces grow right back.  At this rate it’s looking as though I won’t have to buy salad greens all summer, and I couldn’t be more delighted about that.

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The herbs are a mixed pot… errrrrr, bag.  I knew when I planted the mint I knew there was a chance it would try to take over the entire pot, and that does appear to be what it’s attempting to do.    It’s probably claimed a third of the pot for itself and the rest of the herbs are trying to hold onto a little of their own.  The parsley is doing okay, but not great; the dill and rosemary appear to be fighting back and hanging on; but the poor basil has, I think, bolted.  I probably should have planted the mint in its own pot – next year, I will – and now I’m trying to figure out how to rescue the basil.  I’m not sure if moving it to its own pot will do the trick at this point, or if it’s a losing battle.  The good news is, mint is my favorite herb.

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The strawberries are growing decently well.  Every couple of weeks, we seem to be getting a little handful.  (These were eaten, so we don’t have anything right now, but I’m sure we will soon.)  We’re not going to get enough at any one time for me to make a dessert out of them – we’d need a few more plants for that, I think – but it’s fun to have them growing out there and to pluck a few now and then.

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The tomatoes are not doing very well.  The stalks have grown much taller, but that’s the only progress I’ve seen.  There are several stalks with yellowing leaves and we’re just starting to see a couple of buds – and no little green fruits.  I’m sad that these seem to be struggling, and again I think I may have planted them too close together.  Pruning the stalks, and possibly thinning them out, is high on my list for the next few days.  Hoping that will have some effect.

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As for my gardening buddy, she’s still really enjoying the activity.  I’m careful to space out the tasks on which I include her – I don’t make her help with more complicated stuff, and I don’t drag her out to water with me every day – because I don’t want her to get burnt out on gardening.  She probably joins me in watering every three or so days, and the rest of the time I do it myself.  And I always bring her out to pick with me when I’m grabbing some lettuce or herbs – she loves helping me fill up the colander.  As expected, she enjoys picking (and eating) the strawberries most of all – it’s a challenge to get her to wait until I’ve washed the berries before she takes a big bite.  So cute!

All things considered, this garden is doing about as well as I expected it to.  I have never been a green thumb, and I’m hoping that a little experience will change that.  But the fact that I’ve gotten several salads out of this garden, that I have enough mint to last a lifetime, and that Peanut and I have an activity we’re enjoying, is enough for me to call the experiment a success so far.  Further updates to come as the season progresses!

Do you have a garden this year?  How’s it doing?

CentralLibrary3 Monday again.  Did everyone have a nice Father’s Day weekend?  I hope you enjoyed celebrating with the dads in your lives.  Around here, we kept things low-key at hubby’s request: just a quiet day hanging out at home.  We had my father-in-law over for dinner, which was wonderful.  Peanut was so excited that Grandpa was in the house!  Of course, he got some snuggles in with Nugget, too – whenever Peanut permitted him to, that is. I roasted a chicken and some new potatoes using my current favorite combination of seasonings (smoked Spanish paprika and Penzey’s Northwoods seasoning) and on the side we had a salad of mixed greens and herbs plucked straight from the garden.  (I owe you a garden update, by the way – coming on Wednesday.)  It was a good meal, with good company.  Just right.

On the book front, I had a bit of a reading setback this week.  I’ve been making my way through the library stack and have been almost staying on top of it.  At the end of the week I (through hubby) returned four books and checked out five more, including two new books that must be returned in seven days.  So I turned my attention to one of those – In the Unlikely Event, the new Judy Blume – and so far I’m about halfway through it.  It’s distressing, but riveting at the same time; I’m having difficulty in putting it down.  Unfortunately, that meant that the book I had just started – Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis – would need to wait.  But when I went to renew Doomsday Book (it was one day overdue – oops) it turned out there’s a waiting list and I couldn’t renew it.  Who knew?  So Doomsday Book is on its way back to the library today, and I’ll jump back into the holds queue on that one.  Disappointing, but it is what it is. I’ll probably finish In the Unlikely Event within the next couple of days, and then turn my attention to my other seven-day book: Disclaimer, by Renee Knight.  After that, who knows?  I have a few other books out with “waiting pool” stickers on them, so they’ll have to take priority.  I’m thinking of picking up the new Gretchen Rubin (Better than Before) next, since I know I won’t be able to renew that.  But we’ll see.

On the blog this week, look for the aforementioned garden update on Wednesday, and a BlumeAlong post on Friday.  Have a good week, my friends!

The Summer List

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(Picture taken last summer atop Porter Mountain in the Adirondacks.  Just looking at it takes me back there!)

SUMMER!  If asked to choose a favorite season, I’m hard-pressed to decide between summer and fall.  (That’s true for most people, I’d wager.)  While I love many, many things about fall, a really good summer takes on an almost magical quality that can’t be replicated in any other season.  You know what I mean – that deep happiness that comes with long days of sunshine, dips in a cool lake or pool, evenings spent sitting out on the deck watching the fireflies light up the yard like tiny fairy lanterns, epic road trips, songs around a campfire… all the summer essentials.  I live for summer.  I wait for it all year.  And whenever it arrives I resolve to make the most of it.  Some years I do, and some years I don’t.  But I always, always try to come out of summer with a treasure trove of warm, happy memories that I can call upon to sustain me throughout the long, dark winter months ahead.  Summer is my happy place.

Here’s how I hope to make this summer the best yet:

  • Keep enjoying my maternity leave and bonding time with Nugget.  I’m lucky that my employer offers a generous maternity leave policy and that I can afford to take advantage of it.  Nugget is our last baby, so I am really cherishing this time with him.
  • Take a family vacation to the beach!  It has been almost FOUR YEARS since our last vacation.  We’re way overdue.  And this trip is extra-special: we’re joining my parents and my brother and sister-in-law in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, to celebrate my parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary.  The reason for the trip, in and of itself, is special, and so is the destination – we’re going back to the same beach, even the same rental house, that we visited almost every year when my brother and I were growing up.  We have so many memories of this particular beach, and I know my brother is as excited to show this special place to his wife as I am to see my kids (well, realistically, Peanut) playing in the same sands I played in as a kid.
  • Hike to the Eternal Flame.  Closer to home, this is the “quintessential Buffalo hike” and we haven’t done it yet, which seems nuts considering how much we love hiking.  Since part of the hike goes through a stream bed, I think we may leave the kids with the grandparents and make this an adults-only outing.  Maybe for our anniversary?  Speaking of which…
  • Celebrate TEN YEARS of marriage!  I can’t believe hubby and I have been married for almost a decade.  We were practically babies when we tied the knot!  He’s my partner and my best friend and I couldn’t have chosen anyone better as my teammate for life.  We’re trying to come up with some extra-special way to celebrate this milestone.  Can’t wait.
  • Continue our monthly hiking project and take our summer stroll through Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve.  We are having so much fun with both of these resolutions, and I’m so glad that we made a family priority to get out and explore our natural environment.
  • Invest in the East Aurora Cooperative Market.  I’ve had the brochure for member-investors in the planned East Aurora Coop on my desk for who knows how long.  It’s time to take the plunge and help the market get off the ground.
  • Do some small home projects.  Our house has potential but it’s very dated.  I’ve been doing little things here and there – replacing outlet and switch plates, painting the fireplace, installing new handles on the family room built-ins, etc. – and I want to keep up that momentum.  Should be easy; the more I do, the more I see that needs to get done.
  • Re-read Jane of Lantern Hill.  One of my favorite L.M. Montgomery books, and it’s been ages since I last read it.  Jane’s escape from Toronto and summers of fun and freedom with “Dad” on P.E.I. make for the perfect July and August reading.  Oh, and while we’re on the topic of reading…
  • Participate in #BlumeAlong in June and July, and finally join in the Austen in August fun!  I’ve signed on for both reading events – #BlumeAlong, hosted by Kerry of Entomology of a Bookworm, in which we’ll read Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Summer Sisters, and Roofbeam Reader’s annual Austen in August.  I’m planning to read Jane’s juvenilia Love and Freindship (how much do you love that Jane misspelled “friendship”?) and either or both of Jane Austen’s England and Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, as well as re-reading one of the main novels, probably Pride and Prejudice.  So much good reading community to look forward to!
  • Start our playroom re-do.  After almost a year in this house, I finally have a vision for the playroom, and I’m really excited about bringing it to fruition.  I don’t know if this is our forever house, but we’re here now and I’m psyched to give the kids a really special place in which to play, learn and do art projects.

That looks like a good start on summer!  Hope I get to all of these plans.  I think it’ll be a pretty darn good summer either way… especially that long-overdue vacation.  What are you planning for the summer?

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