Sunday, June 10, 2012

Porch Sittin' Mamas

During these summer weeks, my days begin early, bustling about the kitchen, mixing muffins, brewing coffee, laying out fruit and yogurt, smiling and welcoming my guests as they begin their day, listening to their plans for adventure.

My days end late, feeding my family, cleaning up the kitchen, preparing food for the morning, wiping and setting the table ... napkins placed just so ... greeting a late-arriving guest, listening to my girls tell about their days, their friends, rapping to the latest song they've written.

Between those beginnings and endings, lie hours of phone calls,  paperwork, laundry, dishes ... and through it all, I keep thinking, planning, working toward the few moments, usually in the late afternoon, when I can slip out onto the porch to one of my "happy places" with an iced coffee and a magazine, book or journal.

 I love to sit at this little table.  We've owned it for almost 20 years now and I still remember how long we debated before that "BIG" $99 purchase.   I've enjoyed countless hours at its side, reading, journaling, sipping coffee under a tree, in a garden or on a porch ...

And my new favorite "steal 15 minutes" spot - a lovely hammock chair that allows me to feel like I haven't a care in the world  - gently swaying, feet propped on the railing, eyes closed ...

But sometimes, even paradise has a few issues ... 

This is the week of the POLLEN INVASION.  It happens every year.  Clouds of yellow dust, swirling, settling, staining the seats of unsuspecting sitters.

 It "flours" the porch floors

It makes it easy to claim which Adirondack chair is yours, but no one is fighting over them this week...

What's a girl to do?  A girl who needs some porch sitting time?

And then there's another little problem ....

 What a sweet, romantic idea to have a mama bird choose your porch as the perfect place to build her home, but ...

THIS is what mama bird did to my heavenly hammock!!!

And now I cannot even step on my porch without a severe scolding from the bushes

... and if I try to sit down, heaven help us, she moves even closer and lets me know that I am not welcome!

You would think, that with all those mouths to feed, the nest to keep clean, the food to prepare ... she would understand ...

That sometimes a mama just needs to sit and rest a bit .... even if she does have to cover the pollen with a towel and ignore the protests of another busy mama in the process.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Then and Now ..

Memorial Day weekend marked exactly four years since we hosted our first "guinea pig" guests!  And guess what .... They came back!

Sometimes it's hard to see how far you've come - especially when there is still so much to do.  But when Mark and Deb said,  "WOW - you guys have made so much progress!,"  it made me stop and remember ....

THEN - May 2008

We were still in the process of renovating our first guest room!   We raced the clock, working until after midnight to have the room ready.  Luckily (for us) our friends were caught in traffic and didn't arrive until 2:30 am! 

NOW - May 2012

 We have THREE finished guestrooms and are "old pros" at welcoming guests - having hosted well over 2,000 people from around the world. 

 THEN - May 2008

 We tried out some new recipes for our guests ... served on our rickety old kitchen table, somewhat disguised with a tablecloth.  We had NO furniture in the living room or dining room!

 NOW - May 2012

 We have a beautiful dining room table and regularly serve 6-8 breakfasts a morning.  (No - we don't still have our Christmas tree up!  I just didn't have a recent photo).  Our recipe repertoire has grown vastly and now includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose intolerant dishes.  

 THEN - May 2008

 All three of our girls fit in one hammock!  Furthermore, they were young and playful enough to BE in a hammock together ... cuddling with their WebKinz ....

NOW - May 2012

 The girls have grown so much that they would not fit in a hammock and furthermore they would NEVER be caught in a hammock together because that would be just "disgusting!"   They HATE having their pictures taken ... and the WebKinz have been relegated to a dusty shelf ... Sniff, sniff ...

THEN - May 2008

Mark and Deb were good sports!  We "guinea pigged" them all weekend and they were still smiling when they left!

NOW - May 2012 

Mark and Deb enjoyed the "full bed and breakfast experience!"   It was great to see them again and to share how far we've come with friends who were there "when it all began!"

One more ...

THEN - May 2008

 Four years ago, we had just celebrated the college graduation of our daughter, Katie.  CorrieAnne was still shorter than I am ... and Wayne ... had lots of hair!

NOW - May 2012  

Now we've just celebrated the MARRIAGE of our daughter, Katie!  Time just keeps marching along, doesn't it .....

Sometimes it's good to take a moment to see where you've been before you keep moving forward!