i’m in love with summer.

Summer, you are exactly what we needed. It feels a little hypocritical, really, because a few weeks ago, I wrote about a life of long hours and time spent apart. Now, here we are nearing the end of a month in which Jake has been home with us far more than he has been away.

This is something I will not take for granted.

It’s funny though. Seasons of relative ease always leave me feeling a little anxious (to which Jake would surely reply, “Well, that’s not hard to do.”). We are becoming pros at readjusting our routines and rhythms every four weeks, but that still doesn’t make it any easier to go from what we’ve got going now back into the real world demands of shift work and long days.

To put it plainly, I think summer is spoiling me.water.jpg

When I start to get all angsty and tightly wound about it (again, not hard to do), I try to remind myself that each season has something good to offer even if some seasons you have to dig deeper to unearth that good.

But here we are, living presently in a four week season in which the good stuff is staring us square in the face.

For instance, Jake and I took the girls to a castle the other day (yes, a CASTLE). While we were there, I sent my mom a picture of Jake and the girls, and she reminded me of how good this life is that we’re building together.castle2.jpg

She re-centered me without realizing it and reminded me that I bear a great responsibility to try my best to live all our days well. To create experiences for our girls in which they feel well-loved and important. In this season and the next and in all the ones that follow.

So with that in mind, here’s to now. To a summer filled with family and friends and unexpected visitors who show up on our doorstep here in Cleveland. To watermelon stained sun-dresses and bags of fresh cherries that I ‘forget’ to share with the girls. To plastic pools, sprinklers, and splash pads. To homegrown tomatoes and functioning air-conditioning on days like today.

We try to live all our days well around here, but today I am just especially thankful for the ones in which that comes a bit more easily.

a few of my favorite things.

I tend to love things emphatically. Harry Potter. McDonald’s soft serve ice cream. My kids’ bedtime (and when they actually stay in bed WHICH HAS BEEN HAPPENING). The way a fine-tip sharpie changes your handwriting from everyday average to fancy in just moments (this last one has helped increase my correspondence tremendously).

I’m finding that summer intensifies my love of things which I think is mostly thanks to Vitamin D and longer days to fill with wonderful things.Anyway, mostly for my own reflective purposes and because I love to tell other people about the various things I love, here are a few of my favorite things right now:

The library. More specifically, the fact that I can check eBooks out and have them delivered wirelessly to my Kindle from the comfort of my home. Attention, people who are buying books: libraries let you read these same books for free! Free!

I have, lately, been obsessively reading memoirs and autobiographies. I already referenced Kelle Hampton’s book, Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, awhile ago, but recently I’ve been making my way through the minds of various actresses (you can click on the pictures to read more via Amazon although obviously I would suggest utilizing your local library).

I usually stick very closely to fiction, but I can’t stop swimming around in other people’s brains and looking at the world as they see it (which in turn causes me to think about my own lens and perspective).

Our minivan. I almost wrote an entire essay entitled “A Love Letter to My Minivan,” but given that a year ago I wrote an impassioned post about my dishwasher, it felt a little much. Attention, people who have made a solemn vow against minivans: DO YOU EVEN KNOW ABOUT ALL THE SPACE? You can’t because you have vowed to never step foot inside one!

In case the space alone doesn’t convince you, here are some additional perks: The doors open automatically as if by magic. You can fit more people than just your family which often eliminates the need for multiple vehicles. When you go through a drive thru, you are the same level as the cashier which I find to be especially pleasant.

The West Wing. I started watching this series when we moved to Cleveland a year ago and am only now nearing its end. This can be attributed to the fact that I don’t like the things I love to end and because I wanted Jake to watch with me (which slowed me down considerably).

Attention, people who think this is just a boring television show from the late 90s: I’m rolling my eyes at you. Everyone else: Bartlet for America!

Mexican Restaurants. Attention, people with small children: You CAN still go out to eat in your new life. The beauty of a good (“good” here meaning cheap, hole-in-the-wall) Mexican restaurant is that the chips will tide your kids over for exactly the amount of time it takes to cook your food. And then, if you’re real pros like Jake and me, you know how to feed a family of four with two lunch combos and will leave having spent no more than $12.

I could go on and on. The month of July. Splash Parks. Books written by Mo Willems. Rocking chairs on the front porch. Pictures lit by natural, summer sunlight. Oh, and coffee that is sent anonymously to me through the mail.

The other day I was feeling sorry for myself about something particularly insignificant when I stopped and thought about all the good things that had happened to me during that single day. It’s obviously not any sort of original practice (there are books written on the concept, for crying out loud), but it did recenter me. It reminded me that if I can make a list of even one good thing, that’s something to be thankful for.if i can make a list of even one good thing, that's something to be thankful for..jpg Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll spend the rest of the evening watching The West Wing with Jake while I catch up on some correspondence with the Sharpie pen I just found. It’s almost election day and things are really heating up. Santos for a Brighter America!