I ride my bike one last time down the road. This time though, I'm keenly aware of everything. I feel the warm, late-summer wind against my bare skin and through my hair, flying behind me. My legs burn as I pedal uphill, then rest easy as I coast along and spy the chestnut mare out in the field, lazily grazing, happy that black fly season is over. In the distance I hear the familiar sound of a chainsaw hard at work, but not before freshly cut pine meets my nose as I deeply inhale. The pine mixes with warm woodsy earth and fresh air to envelop me in my surroundings. A deer darts out in front of me, and after both our heart rates accelerate we slow to inspect one another. She remains in the brush, curiously staring me down, before nodding and continuing to munch on her midday meal. I pedal on. Back toward the lake a loon calls out eerily, it's minor tune matching the one in my heart.
June is our favorite, when on the cusp of summer all things promise warmth, lazy days, and good times ahead.
I jest - they were perfect gentlemen - and actually required less effort than girls of their age. Except when it comes to food. I'm afraid I didn't do so well in feeding such a small army, so I kept pushing watermelon at them.
Mr. Musky's assessment? He wandered downstairs to say hello, then came back up with a profound revelation.
Then like a whirlwind, July madness descended upon us. We hosted guests for eighteen days straight, starting with this gem who I met my senior year of high school.
In the end, he made peace with them, and Summer even cozied up to him, despite her constant reply of "Really?" to every statement he made. The skepticism runs deep in that one.
TREE DOWN! Lady Luck swirled around with that storm though. The downed tree rotted from the center out, something we would have never realized. As it fell during the storm, a pine tree diverted its path, saving our dock and boats from disaster. The power was out, so we all channelled our inner pioneer and humped water from the lake in order to flush toilets.
Despite the severity of the storm, we were able to call in the professionals. They arrived the next day and cleaned up the rubble in no time. I have a newfound appreciation for arborists.
Things calmed down a bit after that, with the arrival of Mama and Papa Kahling. They had but one item on their agenda: Relax.
Next up - our dear friends, Rob and Kara, who also took the art of relaxation very seriously.
And that about covers it, with the exception of two quick day trips to Ontonagon, Michigan. With a population less than 1500, don't blink or you'll miss this sleepy little town at the top of the Upper Peninsula. We love it for escaping the heat in the Northwoods (which happens maybe twice per summer) and for the pristine beaches on the shores of Lake Superior. If this Great Lake ever beckons you, go.
If I were melancholy when I started this post, now I'm depressed. In two weeks we ship our oldest off to college, and while I am mentally ready for that, I still don't want to call it quits on our summertime paradise. But like many things in life, I have no choice.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Let me start by acknowledging that yes, these pictures are long overdue. With sister-in-law's baby shower, followed by prom, then by graduation and the party, then by a little Indy 500 get together, we threw four parties in one month.
I just enjoyed a week filled with solitude and no work. Yep - I took an entire week off of writing, photography, cooking, cocktailing, and even moming. I just sat, all by myself, and let be. One day last week I took the art of slugging out to a whole new level, only moving from the couch to eat something or visit the bathroom. I highly recommend this version of sloth for a little soul restoration. Take a day off work, tell your people to fend for themselves, and do nothing. Hell, eat a bon bon. Your body and mind will thank you.
In the midst of all the Mayhem in May, we hosted prom pictures. Which isn't that big of a deal, considering the kids all show up for about an hour and a half and then they leave. BUT - it was Kentucky Derby day, so some of the adults hung around for a bit.
First I must introduce some new friends: Kahley's boyfriend Nick, and his parents Jackie and Ray.
They are some of the best people we've met. We hit it off immediately, and saw them socially at least three more times in May. They're the type of people you know for certain are genuine - my favorite kind.
On Prom Day? My model, er, daughter, looked gorgeous.
So super grown up, with hair and makeup to die for.
But mothers of younger daughters, beware. The beauty never comes without drama. Her makeup appointment began 45 minutes late, causing undue stress about not showing up on time for her own party. Her friends could have cared less. They just congregated in the backyard and started snapping pictures on their own. Mr. Musky tended bar for the adults. I put out food for the teenagers, and all was right with the world.Her dress was killer, but again, not without angst. At the checkout at Peaches in Chicago, with the dress rang up and the earrings picked out, we were told that someone else attending her prom already bought the dress, and they couldn't sell it to us. Apparently our sales person forgot to check the system before bringing the dress out for Kahley to try on. She felt horrible and it was an honest mistake, but certainly didn't help the anxiety level of dress shopping.
So we broke the rules and bought it online. Kahley never did see the matching dress at her prom given that over 1000 students attended, so problem solved.
Now is probably a good time to state the obvious.
I love my girl to no end, but man. I sure am glad my next go-around with prom-going involves a male. I've asked around, and it has its own set of challenges with the picking up of the tux the day before the event, but my son will be mysteriously sick during lunch the Friday before prom next year to avoid chaos.
Bottom line - lesson for moms of daughters - start dress shopping in January. I'm not joking or exaggerating in the slightest. Then in February, schedule a hair appointment for the day of prom at 10:00 am. Allot for two hours, if your girl has a thick mane like mine.
Then, if she's having her makeup done, plan on another two hours for that. Schedule that appointment in February as well, and count on things to run behind.
You need another hour (at least!) for her to arrive home, get dressed, and hopefully eat a little something.And then...
At least an hour or more for pictures. For those who are counting, you need to leave the house by 9:30 in order for your princess to be ready for the paparazzi by 3:30. That's six hours. SIX HOURS! And we aren't even the Kardashians.
all was right with the world and her heart rate returned to normal.
One thing I have to say about Plainfield East High School...
...they DO IT UP RIGHT for Prom.
Last year a chartered Metra Train rolled them into Union Station for dinner and dancing.
I love that the transportation to the venue is non negotiable (people who miss the bus, miss the prom),
I know some of these gals more than others, but they all have one thing in common:
Every one of them made it a point to say hello, thanked us for hosting, and impressed me with their overall maturity.
I will miss so many of these gems who lifted Kahley up when she needed it over the past four years.
This gal and her mama...wow.
Kahley picked a gem for a best friend. I adore her mom and love hanging out with them both. Their extended family is fairly hilarious, too.
I won't lie - I started peeking at the time,
ready to move on and go sip an apéritif with the adults. We had horse bets to make and sangria to drink!
Kudos to Kris, the other mama above with me, who came up with the idea for the kids to hold up their college logo. There's a whole lotta girl power going on here!
The gents aren't too bad either.
Phew. Time for that adult beverage.
a. My mom. Hi Mom! Love you!
b. One of the individuals in the above photos. Good luck to you all this fall. Make good choices!
c. Nick's mom. Hi Jackie!
d. A female of any age, sticking with me because you love looking at all the dresses.
e. A creeper. Which is a little weird, but hey - thanks anyway for reading.