Savoring summer

Jul 10

I’ve been writing a lot, but I haven’t managed to put a bow on anything for you recently.  So today is a blank page and clicking keys.

Maren has managed to catch a summer virus that has her laid up.  It has forced a real slow down — no friends, no playdates, no outings — as a midpoint in our summer.

Maren and I have many new freckles, and Greta and Brad are tan and their hair gets lighter by the day.

Our small 2’x8′ elevated garden bed is flourishing in year number two: we are harvesting green beans (or maybe they’re peas — we can’t tell; we planted both and only one has matured), green peppers, candy mint, rosemary, and basil.  In separate pots we have a bunch of green tomatoes we are (impatiently) waiting on to ripen.  Last year we made and ate a lot of red sauce, and I can’t wait to roast them up.  I am the primary garden-waterer, but Greta also loves to do that job.

Last night I washed Maren’s hair as she was too weak to do it herself.  I sat on the tub ledge with one foot in and one foot out, trying not to get as wet as she is, and it brought back a flood of nostalgic bath time memories of days gone by.  Oh, that baby chub comes hurtling back in my mind’s eye.  But methinks these medium-sized small people who can bathe and feed and launder themselves are pretty awesome albeit in different ways.

Greta can ride a bike, and I think she spends close to an hour on her scooter every single day.  That scooter is the best thing we’ve ever bought for her.

We frequent fliers at the library.  I’ve gotten the girls hooked on audiobooks in addition to books you have to sit down to read.

Last week I spent mornings and bedtimes dolloping generous amounts of pink calamine lotion on to the girls’ too-many-to-count bug bites.  The girls learned that they love camping and campfires, but when mama says, “wear pants and shoes”, she means pants-pants (Greta) and non-flip-flops (Maren).  They both look like they got the pox: Greta from her thigh to her ankle, and Maren all over her feet and ankles.  More nostalgia from my own child with that calamine lotion though, so that that is good.

We had a delightful visit with Wisconsin grandparents who came to visit.  We ate donuts, had a piano recital, and went to a winery while the kids did a day camp.

At the Cincinnati grandparents, we have had the paddleboat out and rocked a mile in the deck furniture.

Brad has completed two of his three triathlons on his summer schedule; his perseverance and discipline is incredible.  He has one more at the end of the month to complete a big goal.

I have more capacity this summer than I’ve had in three years; this treatment is favorable in that way.  A nap is an exception rather than a necessity, and I am enjoying the extra hours in the day.  I love having the girls home all day, and the whimsy of our days is tangible and decadent.

The girls come with me to many of my Chemo Mondays.  They color and read and do workbooks and have polite conversations with my friends.  I love seeing them relaxed and at ease in my hallowed ground space.

Tonight Maren and I sat together after she ate something of significance for the first time in a few days and organized her friendship bracelet supplies.  We wound embroidery floss over bobbins, sorted in rainbow order, and had The Great British Baking Show on in the background.  We assembled a new box for Greta so that she can have her own.  Her hands are deft and able and maturing by the day.  Simple pleasures, sweet conversations, and creating with our hands makes for a soul-centering evening.

What was to be a family night turned out to be a Greta – Daddy date at the amusement park near our house.  Greta rode her first loop-de-loop rollercoaster, and it is so authentic to her thrill seeker heart.  Brad gave her the map and let her pick what she wanted to do and she went for all the big rides, even though she barely qualifies for the height requirement.  Greta is full of big adventure and big fun.  Brad, exhausted after a big workout and big workday, still rallied to put his Fun Dad hat on, and made her night.

Summer days are to be savored.


  1. Marie /

    This is such a nice post to see today. I feel like I “know” you after reading your blog for years, and coincidentally, just last night I realized it had been a while since you’d posted, so I went and trolled your site just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Glad to hear you’re having a nice summer!

  2. Hi Jen..maybe because your website was hacked, but I no longer receive notifications when you post. Can’t believe that I’m alone…Help! Hugs…..fellow thriver….

  3. Christin /

    Ah! I don’t think I got the email saying you made a new post!! I loved reading this!! Such beautiful days and such a beautiful reminder to SAVOR my moments with my own family!

  4. Ginger Sanford /

    I no longer get the email updates that you have a new post either. I came to your blog today to check up on you! I love your writing and how you Do Today Well!

    It sounds like you and your family are doing summer right! Enjoy to your heart’s content!!

  5. Mags /

    Hi Jen, I’m no longer getting email updates either but checked in and found your post!

  6. Cindy Mitchell /

    Jen, I finally found your blog.. It took me a while.. Sorry to have you were hacked.. I am happy to hear you are doing fine.. Keep on blogging and my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family… Have a great last part of summer..

  7. Lisa Smith /

    Love you Jen! Xoxo

  8. Malia /

    I was thinking about you today and checked your website to find this awesome update (I no longer receive notifications either). Happy summer!