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Archive for June 2016

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Well, it’s quiet around the house today. All three of my kids left for a three-day camp yesterday, and I think it’s actually the first time I’ve ever been “home alone” for the night without any of them with me. I’ve been puttering around (as my grandmother would have said), and yes, enjoying some time to myself. But, I have to admit, I miss them! I miss knowing their in the house. I miss the noise and giggles they make. I miss overhearing their conversations.

Today’s letter is something I’ve told each of them when they’ve gone on an overnight adventure… REMEMBER EVERYTHING! (So you can tell me about it!) Wednesday, I told them all at the same time, and amidst maybe a hint of rolling eyes, they all said “we’ll try!” I can’t wait to hear about their experiences!

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It always seems to happen at bedtime. It doesn’t matter whether we’re staying up late or going to bed early, at bedtime, the giggles ensue. And it’s not just a small chuckle. It’s a full-blown, every single thing in the world is funny, giggle-fest. From all three of my little ones. Just as I’m ready for some down time and trying to get everyone settled down. And so, I pull out my “I know it’s summer time, but mommy still has to get some work done tomorrow,” lecture. Followed by a short soliloquy on how “when you guys are sleeping late tomorrow, Mommy will be getting up to do my client projects, so we need to quiet down!” Even I am thinking “blah, blah, blah.”

This morning, as I was thinking about how this scene unfolded last night, it occurred to me… “what am I doing?” Not fifteen minutes before, I had been begging them not to argue with each other. And then, the sounds of uncontrolled giggles coming from my bedroom, each one joined in, and not a cross word in earshot. (until I decided to join the conversation) Maybe it’s time for me to reevaluate this giggle thing. Maybe it’s time to embrace the giggling. To celebrate that unexpected explosion of joy. And to remind Baby Girl and her brothers that the sound of those giggles isn’t an annoyance. It is the precious and priceless sound of joy and love and togetherness. One I hope I can always hear clearly.

I’m closing in on 50 letters! My goal is to get to 100. You can view the whole series here.

go . Memphis in June

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Memphis has become one of “our” places. It feels like we’ve visited it enough that we don’t feel like tourists, but more like friends coming to town again. It’s only a couple of hours from Starkville, and I love seeing productions in the Broadway Series at The Orpheum. So, over the last couple of years, we’ve visited the city a couple of times each year, and my children have begun to call it their own. They’re starting to know their way around Downtown, and they each have their own experiences they look forward to — restaurants, stores, museums, the park. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy their excitement about their own experiences of a place!

Earlier this month, we went to Memphis again to see The Wizard of Oz (amazing!), and it was our first time to visit during the summer months. Our last trip was in January, so it was a real treat to see flowering trees and so much green on Main Street where we like to stay. The weather was that Southern summertime mix of sweltering heat and billowing clouds that brought a couple of quick thunderstorms in between plenty of sunshine.

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We enjoyed walking to dinner at the kids’ favorites, Aldo’s Pizza Pies with its plates of dough, and Huey’s with the challenge of shooting your toothpick into the ceiling tiles. We also tried Bayou Bar & Grill in midtown in Overton Square on our way out of town, and it did not disappoint! This trip, we had time for our first visit to the Fire Museum of Memphis, which is located in the old Fire Station No. 1 Downtown. It has a fun mix of Fire Department artifacts, photos, trucks and equipment, as well as some neat interactive exhibits the kids really enjoyed — especially the rescue simulation driving the fire truck through Downtown streets!

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We usually stay at the Marriott Residence Inn, which is located in the old William Len Hotel, built in 1927. In addition to some great Art Deco details, the hotel includes a nice rooftop space for views of Downtown landmarks (and the occasional game of hide-n-seek). For some reason, my children always request one evening just to play in our hotel suite with delivery from Aldo’s and Westy’s, and an evening thunderstorm provided the perfect opportunity this trip.

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So much of these experiences with my kids inspire me. All the shapes and colors of a more metropolitan downtown. And mostly their reactions to everything – when they make me laugh out loud, when they embrace each moment and make the little things fun. I’ve been going through lots of photos from our Memphis adventures, and I want to share a few more posts of some of the themes that are popping out – our latest views of Beale and The Orpheum, the amazing public art that’s everywhere, the architectural details from the era of early high-rises, a couple of other unique experiences I’m just now remembering. Stay tuned!

 

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No touch-ups today! I’m trying out some new cold press watercolor paper we got yesterday on the mother of all craft store browsing. When I see Baby Girl in her element, talking about her ideas, making her own choices, this is what I think.

I have a serious backlog of inspiring images and creative pursuits to share, which I hope to post soon. It’s been a wonderful summer having my sweet kiddos along for the ride every day. That, in itself, has inspired a greater desire to focus on building and living out what matters most to me.

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Baby Girl declared this last week. And, sure enough, she IS good at yo-yos! She even gave me a few pointers on how to improve my very lacking yo-yo skills. I just love that she can recognize with pride when she is good at something and use that confidence to keep on trying. I want to remind her of these moments. To store up for trying the next new thing!

Counting June Days [printable calendar]

Today is our first official day of summer vacation at home in Starkville! We left town the day school let out to spend the week at the farm to celebration the break, and now, we are back home settling into the more relaxed summer routine. I’ve been looking forward to summer vacation for a couple of months, and it feels like I’ve been in a constant state of saying, “we can do that over the summer!” Each year, though, I find myself stunned at just how short the summer is.

In one of my more “mommy’s weird” moments last week, I decided to count how many actual days we have for summer vacation. It’s 71. Seventy-one! Today, that number is 64. They’re already moving fast. As a child, I remember summer being kind of an endless lazy haze. As a parent, I find myself begging time to slow down. I felt like I overcommitted the children last year to camps and activities — all wonderful opportunities, just not the opportunity to be unscheduled. As I began planning for this summer, I determined that we would devote the time this year to togetherness, to captured moments, and to more unscheduled wandering. At the farm last week, I started writing notes in my journal about all the simple, but wonderful fun things we did each day. It was nothing fancy, just things like playing charades, having a picnic, watching our own Scooby Doo marathon, walking to various parts of the pasture, throwing rocks in creeks, and more. I decided I would try to continue writing the memories for each of those 71 summer days.

In that spirit, I put together a little printable calendar for June called “What I Did This June.” Instead of the traditional calendar layout, it has a place to write at least one memorable or ordinary thing for each day. I hope you enjoy the chance to capture your moments!

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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