Our country is big. Its diverse, but yet still feels like America where ever you go. We only covered a fraction of our vast country on our little road trip, but from the swamps of the south, to the rolling hills and flat corn fields of the midwest. The wide open farm lands to the metal skyscrapers of the big cities, I love our country. And no better time to be appreciative of the land we live in then the celebration of our Independence Day.
We were on our time. No plane to catch, no regulations on what we could or could not do. If we wanted to stop, we stopped. If we needed to sleep, we slept. If we wanted to drive all night and party all day, well, we did that too. That's the beauty of driving.
I love the Midwest. Its where I am from and will always hold a piece of my heart. Every time I come back, my heart feels fuller. It beats stronger, every sense bringing back some memory. Smells that bring me back to childhood summers of fresh cut grass, the dirt of a softball diamond, the gasoline from the lake boats. Noises of laughing kids, revolving porch screen doors, and the reel of a fishing pole. Sights of dripping ice cream cones, driveways littered with skateboards and bikes, and signs announcing a festival or fair. The taste of fresh picked tomatoes, sweet corn dripping with butter, and driveway lemonade. And the feel of the warmth from a night bonfire, soft grass between your toes, and muddy-cool lake water wrapping around you. Those are the traits of summer. These are the traits of summer anywhere, but they smell, look, taste, sound and feel different when I am back home. They are my childhood.
I miss the grass the most. Grass so soft, you kick off your shoes to get closer to it. Grass that makes you want to roll and summer salt, with no worries that you will put your hand in a red ant pile.
And then there's the lakes. No salt, no sharks, no worries. Oh, and no gators! Nothing keeping me from jumping off a boat to cool off in the inviting water. The shorelines are covered in petosky stones instead of seashells, and pine needles instead of palm leaves. The lakes are what I lived for when I lived here.
My husband grew up in the country. Corn fields, woods and farms on all sides. The one-lane roads and few stop lights leave a lot of scenery to enjoy. Gimme all that spacious land. When I am in the country, I want to be a country girl.
But when I am in the city, my heart is all about the city. Especially, the Windy City.
Maybe that's why I settle for the burbs, because I just can't decide.
We lived for babies smiles.
Seeing trains. Riding trains. Watching my boys watch trains. Anything to do with trains.
Late night bonfires.
Strawberry-stained faces and milestone alert- Princess is waving hello and goodbye!
Breaks from the shoes with the bar. Maybe more then we should of, but baby needed to enjoy the grass and lakes and whatever other excuses we jumped on to take them off. Hoping our doctor doesn't read this.
Boys of summer...
A store solely devoted to popcorn.
You know you are in Michigan if...
You turn right to go left...
You say Pop instead of Soda...
You use your hand to describe where you are....
You eat a Paczki on Fat Tuesday... and you know how to pronounce it...
You are never more then 6 miles from a lake.
We ended our trip at a little slice of heaven in a town called Grand Haven. The sand squeaks when you kick it, you get your weeks worth of cardio walking up and down the sand dunes- which you need to burn off the ice cream and candied popcorn they have every 5 steps, and every night you can watch one of the worlds largest musical fountains. It truly was a haven, a place we were really sad to leave. Lake Michigan, you stole our hearts.
I am full with family and memories and happy to be home. It feels good to be back in our own beds. After a few years of fighting it, Florida really feels like home now. The north has a piece of my heart, but the majority of it is right here. In the mangroves and salt water and sticky, thick Florida air. We may not be doing any rolling around in our grass or jumping into our gator infested lake, but we are making our own memories and traditions of summer down here. Mainly, days that the sun doesn't set without going to the pool. Or visiting the citrus farm down the road and making fresh Floirda orange juice. Or mainting our year-long coppertone baby sun tans of my shirtless-shoeless boys with driveway art projects and shelling the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Feeling pretty grateful that we get to the oppertunity to enjoy more then just the 50 miles around us.
My little sister is spending the summer in France. I'm not jealous or anything :) I am so excited for her and even more excited that she started her own blog to keep us updated and to let me live vicariously through her. Check out what she is up to and the beauitful pictures of what she gets to look at every day for the next two months at Summer in the City.