Summer, I missed you. I forgot just how much I missed you until you paid us a visit this weekend. You showered us with warm temperatures, lots of sunshine, fresh air, easy conversation, cold drinks, backyard barbecues and lots of visiting with neighbors. Like an old friend, you felt so easy and natural to be around. No need to make elaborate plans to fill our time or small talk to fill the pauses. Nope, it was good just to be in your presence.
Thanks for spending the weekend with us. Stop by again soon. We always have room for backyard barbecues, sun filled days, a refreshing swim, cold drinks and easy conversation.
We were super lucky last weekend and hit the weather jackpot. Sunshine. Lots of sunshine with temps in the 60’s. It was a perfect weekend to explore our neighborhood. We recently found out about some local county parks that boast easy trails along the water. Finding something scenic in New Jersey is no easy feat. Trust me.
We were pretty fortunate to run across a site dedicated to South Jersey Trails. I had been looking for a comprehensive site for quite some time and had been pretty unsuccessful until I stumbled across this gem. A guy from New Jersey hiking and reviewing trails….with a toddler in tow. Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. If you have a toddler, live in New Jersey or wonder what else you can do on Saturday other than go to Target, than you should check out this site.
We stopped by Amico Island and did an easy 4 mile hike while the toddler spent the better portion of the morning napping. We looped around the trails twice and stopped to hunt deer tracks for a while. The hunting paid off as we lucked out and easily spotted a pack of more than 20 deer grazing. I was feeling pretty grateful at the time that my toddler was sleeping as to not frighten the little white tailed beauties.
Excuse the grain but this is all you get. I am sure if you squint really hard though you can make out the deer, no?
The following day, we took the toddler out for a nature walk. This time we let him run wild on the trails. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend. I am looking forward to more weekends like this.
Have you heard of the small house movement? Yeah, neither had I. Not until I came across it on Wikipedia and learned that I am a subscriber to the small house movement. Who knew?
A few years ago, I moved in to an unbelievably small home. A pit stop of a home. Passing through town kind of home. I was lucky this home came equipped with a basement and attic. I needed that space for my shoe collection. I stored my boxes of shoes in the attic. I stored my boxes of collectibles in the basement. What? Did I just write that? I have collectibles? No. That can’t be right. I definitely don’t have collectibles. However, I did find that I had boxes and boxes of things. Most of those “things” remained unpacked in the basement until they were donated.
Most of those shoes All of those shoes remained unpacked in the attic until they, too, found a new home in the goodwill pile.
There are so many benefits to living in a small home but one of my favorites is that it has forced me to examine what I value. In an effort to maximize our space, we have embarked on a major purge in our house. We are tossing, donating and recycling that which serves no purpose anymore and keeping only what we truly value. As we rid ourselves of unwanted clutter and belongings, we are left surrounded by only those items and belongings that enrich our lives and are meaningful to us.
This way of living is a sharp departure from “the bigger is better” way we have been taught. Our houses, cars, mortgages, tuitions and bills continue to grow while our time and money dwindle as we chase the next great purchase that will make us smarter, thinner, richer, better, brighter, etc.
We like this simple way of life that we are creating. My house was never too small. My things were just too big.
The dust is settling. The last 5 years have been a whirlwind of life changes. Getting married, buying a house, renovating said house, getting knocked up, having a baby, resigning from my job, Science Guy starting his MBA….just to name a few of the life changes we have experienced. In the process of adjusting to the bevy of life changes, I have lost myself somewhere. I have been living my life in fast forward.
We have struggled to finish any one project in the house. Years have gone by and we have yet to unpack and settle in. We are continuing to live in a house and not a home. We have 4 walls and a roof over our heads but those walls have some half torn wall paper, some missing door trim, some old baseboards that have yet to be replaced with the new ones in the basement. The rooms of this house remain neglected and partially furnished. The rooms of the house are consumed with half hearted possessions that have been handed down to us, leftovers from our move or random items picked up at yard sales. My house has become over run with meaningless possessions. I spend an inordinate amount of time organizing, picking up, rearranging and storing these items. I spend more time taking care of these things than I do myself. Something is wrong with that picture. In an effort to rectify this situation, we are currently involved in a deep purge of this house to discard ourselves of the items that are weighing us down and no longer serving a purpose.
The same can be said of how I spend my time, what little time there is. Most of my waking day is spent with my 1 year old right now. In the fleeting moments of free time, I find myself spending an inordinate amount of that time scrolling through Instagram pictures and Facebook statuses, checking my inbox and subsequently deleting the thousand or so emails that have accrued or reading blog titles and making it half way through a post before having to shut down my laptop or put down my phone. I bookmark things to read and rarely do I return to read them. I open up emails with the intention to reply, promptly become distracted and rarely remember to return to reply. Over the course of the past year, I am sure I intended to read at least 30 books and never made it through one whole book. I am too distracted by the lure of being a stalker and voyeur into the make believe worlds of people on the internet that I call my “friends” on facebook and instagram. Don’t even get me started on twitter. Twitter is the worst offender of them all. Twitter gives me a headache. Scrolling through miles of tweets without pictures is painful for me. It requires more concentration than I can currently provide at this time.
The lack of attention and detail is probably most noticeable in how I take care of myself though. One look and you might start to notice the torn cuticles, the bitten nails, the overgrown eyebrows, the roots showing as my hair grows out, the circles and bags under my eyes and the disheveled attire. While I can certainly argue a case that raising my baby trumps long visits to the salon to get my hair done, I can’t argue that raising a baby trumps taking care of myself. I am only as good to others as I am to myself.
I am not one for New Year’s resolutions and this year is no different. However, I will make some permanent life changes. I will take better care of myself so that I may take better care of those that I love. I will purge our house and our lives of that which weighs us down whether it be possessions, thoughts or relationships. I will always choose quality over quantity. I believe less is more. I believe a house is not a home. I will make our house a home. I believe that some people look for a beautiful place while others look to make a place beautiful.