Summer Heat

I’m part of the Mommy Blogger Collective. Each month we’re given a one word prompt to riff with. This month’s prompt is *heat.*

Spring and summer are hands down my favorite times of the year. Why? HEAT. You won’t catch me complaining about balmy summer days that give way to hazy sunsets lit up by fireflies. No way. I can take the heat, and so can the kiddos. There hasn’t been one day we haven’t been in a lake or a pool. I’m tan (tan for me, that is.) Soaking up the rays (with a good sunscreen, of course!) is my mission this summer. I’m storing up all this sunny goodness for the colder months, but we won’t talk about that.

What’s summer look like for us? Drippy melting ice cream cones, long days at the lake, trips to the Jersey shore, fishing with family, paddle boat rides with grandma, sand castles with cousins, catching fireflies at dusk, making new friends, growing taller, tanner and stronger under the sun. This is our summer.

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This makes me claustrophobic just looking at it. Next!

Point Pleasant BeachPoint Pleasant Beach

Eli, sporting his sister Serena’s shades.

Point Pleasant Beach

Hudson, mid-sand castle build. One of the moments he was not spiriting toward the boardwalk. Note Gwen’s sun-worshiping pose in the background.

Point Pleasant Beach

Swimming all day = Gwen’s athletic physique. Who needs a trainer?

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Phil, relaxing in between volleyball games.

Point Pleasant Beach volleyball

Point Pleasant Beach hosts competitive volleyball games that happen every Saturday morning and run all day.

Point Pleasant Beach

Cousins, awaiting the promised ice cream cones.

Point Pleasant Beach

The promised drippy, melting ice cream cone to end our day at Point Pleasant Beach.

Paddle boat

Oma took 3 grandkids for a paddle boat ride at the lake!

pizza

New Jersey and pizza. She knows where it’s at.

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Sir Charles!

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Gwen, fishing with her grandpa.

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There are few things that Hudson loves more than fishing with Daddy.

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And we watched the sun go down, down, down…


“Heat” is the July writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Renee of oh renée. A few words from Renée — Oh Renée started as a creative outlet for me a few years ago, a happy place to share creative and fun projects or fashion. Since then, it has evolved into one of the best things I could ever have done with my time! The last few years of blogging have become much more personal to me- more of a way to document this life of mine, with my husband, with my little boy and with the world around me. I enjoy sharing glimpses into our days and sharing in other mom’s lives as well, as part of this wonderful world of social media. Being a mother is better than anything I could have expected! Truly. I call Ohio my home, I keep the joy of traveling and exploring new places close to my heart, i spend my evenings knitting and am never without a book in my hand or in my purse. My blog is much of the same! You can find me on Instagram at instagram.com/ohreneedesign.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

SPRING has sprung

What did we do this Saturday? We were outside. A lot. For those of you reading from below the Mason-Dixon line, you may not be thinking that’s a big deal, but it is! What a day! It was a “Disney” Day here in New Jersey on Saturday. Sun out, birds chirping, everything about to bloom and burst in full color. I thought Aurora (Sleeping Beauty for those of you without girls under the age of 7) was going to bust out from behind a tree and start singing with woodland creatures in the background. That didn’t happen, but we did see tadpoles and squirrels.

This is the highlight reel starring the kiddos, our good friends and mother nature! Our adventure included our dear friends and their sweet little boys in central NJ, land of rolling hills, towering trees and gorgeous old estates. We had a fantastic day as we caught up and had their photo session at Cross Estate Gardens over smoothies and bagels, (see Hudson’s face) and I’m not sure how their family can get any more adorable.

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The Davids

The Davids

The Davids

Yes, this family belongs in a frame!

Tulips, Tulip Tree

Bloom!

Blonde Boy

Mr. “All boy,” reclining as if he’s just returned from a tough game of cricket. He was really throwing rocks all day.

Blonde Boy

Blonde Boy

Post-smoothie “smoldering” face of a filthy, tired toddler. Work it.

Blonde girl

Teagan can fly!

Hydrangea

Smoothie time! Tea found me some hydrangea: “You’re favorite flower, Mommy.” <3

Flying

No, really. She can fly.

Girl

Somehow, in photos, Gwenyth always manages to look way older than she is! Scary? You bet!

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 We’re oh so close to leaves and shade!

Trees and stone wall

Tulip Tree

Daffodils

 “We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman

 

sunshine, silence and oranges

One of my oldest, closest friends of all time lives on the opposite coast. From time to time, she’ll text me a picture of a view from her “happy place,” a gorgeous point overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s serene, it’s peaceful, it’s everything a place to re-center should be. For a half a second one fairly recent day when I read her text letting me know she was there, I got to thinking that I didn’t have a “happy place” of my own, and just as quickly as I thought that, I forgot about it.

Fast forward a few weeks later to the beginning of a snow storm. If you know me, you know how I feel about fall and winter. I’ll spare you my rant. The closer to the sun I can get, the better. As the snowflakes began to fall and we headed deeper into yet another snow day, I told my husband the highlight reel of childhood winter escapes to Florida: wind chimes sounding like daytime lullabies paired with the whirl of bike tires, warm air all around, palm trees swaying above me, the sun on my back, in my eyes, hours in the pool – and the smell of oranges. Lots of oranges.

I guess I was convincing – (did I get you?) – that coupled with the man being a spontaneous optimist, ready for adventure at all times. On top of  that, we got news that my grandma, a New Jersey ex-pat who’s been soaking up Florida’s rays since 1984, was hospitalized. That was 11:30 am. By 2:00 pm, our family of 5 (Gwen sporting her beach cover-up) was packed and heading south. We drove all night, taking turns on and off at the wheel, and working on our laptops (working remotely has major perks!) Every hundred miles or so, the temperature jumped up about 2 degrees. After months of cold weather, topped off by a hideous “polar vortex,” that was a glorious sight.

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We had a blast that week, our family of five. We played in the aqua water, collected seashells, jumped in the pool, dipped in a hot tub, rode bikes on the beach and counted stars from the boardwalk. My girls learned that “jungle trees” are really called palm trees. They soaked up sun they hadn’t felt on their skin in months. My babies played with their cousin for hours, and bonded with their great-grandma, great-aunt and great-uncle. Their aunt took them on “safari” in an electric golf cart, dodging through palmettos and under towering pine trees.

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On our last day in Florida, I hopped the fence behind my grandma’s property and found a clearing between two trees into the orange groves that back up to her 5 acres. My grandfather, who we lost in March of 2013, introduced me this orange grove when I was just 13.  As I stood there 20 years later, alone, listening to nothing, overwhelmed with gratitude for sun and overtaken with the smell of these ripening oranges, time folded in on itself and stopped. This place wanted me to remember it. How could I forget my “happy place,” the place where I did nothing else but admire the beauty around me, freeing me from the responsibility of all other thoughts? Easily. I’ve been too wrapped up in life to remember. Since I last visited, I’ve graduated college, grad school, started a career, got married, lost my father, three grandparents, had three babies, moved five times…I’ve been living, and living fast. We all are.

So much life stands between me and that 13 year old girl – so much learned, lost and infinitely gained. If I could whisper in her ear, I’d remind her of what I tell my kids, (who you may see sniffing flowers whenever they have the chance): stop and smell the flowers (or the orange blossoms). All of them.