The month of July was a whirlwind of activity in my life.  It started with a broken air conditioner in the minivan {hello, brand new Passat}, a day trip to Savannah {fun!}, a speeding ticket {say wha’?!}, and a week long trip to the beach before I drove 900 miles in the loaner car {by myself} to Pennsylvania.  I wish I could say that I felt totally relaxed and unplugged at the beach, but the truth is that in between collecting seashells and chasing children I may have binge watched episodes of Mad Men and wrote a few too many blog posts.

It’s no secret that I’ve been in a funk lately.  It’s our first summer as Florida residents and it ain’t pretty — the humidity and unbearable heat has made me a complete psycho b*, which I am not proud of in the least.  Being 900 miles away from family doesn’t help either, so you can understand my excitement when it came time to make the epic journey north to visit my family. The anticipation of visiting with family and going to summer camp fueled our momentum as we traveled {in the loaner car!} for two days.  There were lots of movies, milkshakes, and jumping on the bed in between but when we made it to Pennsylvania I felt like I could breathe.  To breathe.

The fresh air filled my lungs and it was this wonderful homecoming of sights and smells that I took for granted during our brief stay the year before. I love packing light when I head home, although I can always count on my brother to carry in my bags {hello, Hercules}.  This time, I said, “I need everything BUT my computer bag.”  And my computer… well, it got a vacation of its own.

10 Things That Happened When I Left my Laptop in the Trunk

1. I went to summer camp No matter how brief, I got to sneak out of the house to attend my mom’s summer camp for women.  It is the first time since its inception that I’ve missed being a weekend camper at Camp Ladybug, but nursing toddlers are not so welcome in places meant for relaxation.  Thanks to my dad and a great babysitter, I got to hear those squeaky screen doors for another summer. 1969199_734218529954398_1442127277_n

2.  Made fairy houses under the Great Oak Tree

When my great-grandfather passed away in 1992, my mom planted a small oak tree in his memory.  This oak tree created the perfect canopy for creating with my kids.  We moved the picnic table under its branches and while I’d like to say that our crafting time was tranquil, it was truly chaotic and fun and sticky.  Very sticky.  Lizzie wanted to participate, too, which was going well until she dumped an entire jar of buttons into the grass.  Sorry, Dad. girls crafting backyard 2

3.  Quality Playground Time

Instead of checking my email or comparing myself to other bloggers, I packed up my girls and my niece and walked to the playground.  I resisted the urge to take pictures and send them to instagram or Facebook.  I climbed in a tunnel, chased my toddler, and went down a tubeslide {and thankfully did not get stuck}.  On a separate trip, we fed the ducks and Lizzie learned to quack.

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4.  I read a book {without pictures}

Okay, so I started a book.  Starting a book is a huge step for me!   I wonder how many books I could read if I would just power.it.down?  With just eighty pages to go, I finished the book on the treadmill when I got back to Jacksonville.

5.  Crafted a mosaic pot 

Cheap pots, sticky grout, and dollar store gems sure do shine when paired with gorgeous seashells.  My plants will be fighting each other for these pots.

6.  Visited with friends

I don’t think I have to persuade you to see the value in sitting together with friends at the kitchen table sharing fruit & laughter!!

7.  Put aside Pinterest & Colored 

My mom recently came across coloring pages that were meant for big girls.  I did what any 34 year old would do and picked a page and colored with gorgeous colored pencils & ink pens.  The message I chose:  I am fully present.  I don’t always feel this way — I find that I routinely live my life in a state of distraction.  I don’t want to be that way, so this was a good reminder. i am fully present coloring page

8.  Spent time with my grandparents

My grandparents invited the girls and I to their house for dinner one night.  While we attempted to visit, I spent much of the time relocating all the collectible glassware to a place where Lizzie couldn’t trash it.  Lizzie attempted to eat the fake fruit, she threw much of her dinner on their carpeted dining room floor, and dumped a week’s worth of newspapers on the ground.  Parts of it felt stressful, but overall I was so glad to be spending time with my Mimi & Pap.  I might be 34 years old, but I’ll never tire of them calling me “Pud” {shorting for pudding}.  Only 36 hours after we had dinner, my grandmother became very ill.  She was rushed to the hospital and had a series of scares, but is now recovering in an outpatient facility to gain her strength.  Life is precious.  People are precious.

9.  Went for a walk in the woods & didn’t post it to Instagram! 10584095_10154476092200533_6092295074493134058_n

10.  Laughed until I cried at an amusement park with my Dad & three mini-daredevils Every person growing up in the Susquehanna Valley has fond childhood memories of summers spent at Knoebels Grove.  My dad and I took my niece Emily, Ellie, & Lizzie to the park for a fun filled day.  We ate junk food, went on every ride for the under 48″ crowd, and didn’t leave until after bedtime.  The best part?  Listening to the laughter of three little girls.

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