Summertime in Summertown

I’m not one for heat. Even though school is out in the summer and I remember liking that as a kid, I would have to say that summer is pretty much my least favorite season. I just don’t like being hot. However, I still stand by the fact that Tennessee summers have been WAY better than I could have ever expected- us westerners are pretty afraid of the humidity. I haven’t even died once! What’s funny is my mom is planning a visit out here in just a few days and she keeps asking me if she’s going to be too hot. Meanwhile, it’s been over 100 degrees- as high as 107 degrees- many, many days already this summer in the Sacramento valley. I mean… what is that about?

So even though I would still classify summer as my least favorite season, I might be willing to put it as tying with spring for third favorite at this point. I really dig the thunderstorms and the cooling rain. This evening the kids played outside until after dark- almost 9pm- and it was a beautiful 77 degrees after the afternoon rain. I mean, you just can’t beat that. Add in fireflies and you’ve got yourself a third favorite season tie for sure.

We’ve had a busy summer so far. I’ll be honest, I was looking forward to Cadence getting out of school so that we could have some time to relax! Getting up early and rushing around and doing homework and getting to baseball practice was just getting to be a lot there at the end. Well, I have to say that summer has proven to be just as busy if not busier than the school year so far! And remember, when I say busy, I’m not talking about bad busy. I’m not talking about busy for the sake of feeling important. Or busy for the sake of filling time. Or busy so that I have an answer to the question, “How are you doing?” (Busy!). I’m talking about all kinds of fun things slammed in the extra long hours of daylight.

June was filled with baseball, sleepovers, pool time, swim lessons, CMA fests and date nights, wine tasting, pig births, pig deaths, play-dou, VBS, horseback riding lessons, face paint, REFIT, hiking, late nights, visitors, field trips, power outages and Grammy.

I literally just looked through my photo album on my phone and that was all in June. I mean, that’s a lot Readers. But doesn’t that sound like fun? Looking back I can’t believe we fit it all in.

A few things to elaborate on… REFIT! Did I tell y’all that I am a REFIT instructor? If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically fitness to music. Yes, we dance, but you don’t have to be a dancer. I started my REFIT journey by attending ONE class taught by a friend who I met on Instagram here in Tennessee. After my very first class, I signed up to become an instructor. Why? I’m still trying to figure that out. I just figured it would be a good way to meet new people and it seemed to align with what I already do for a living- help people have fun and get healthy!

*Side note: If you’re in Tennessee, come on by to the Fitness Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 9am! If you’re in Sacramento or Carson City area’s- I’m coming for you in Aug/Sept! Stay tuned!

I now teach 1-2 times a week (depending on the week) in town and I’ve met a lot of pretty rad ladies. So that’s been a fun endeavor!

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Cadence has started horse back riding lessons. Readers, I am not exaggerating when I say that Cay has been asking me to ride horses since she could say the word horse. I mean, she’s only 6 and yet I can’t remember a month of her life where she wasn’t making this request. It makes me so very happy to see her on top of that horse, even though she tells me every single time when we’re driving to her lesson that she has a nervous feeling in her tummy. I love that she’s facing her fears and doing it afraid, even though it’s way harder and way scarier than she imagined. That girl is all guts and it’s one of the things that makes me most proud as her mom.

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Lastly, we’ve had visitors! As I think I’ve mentioned, we had Grammy- Tom’s grandmother- here in our guest room (as in right off the living room and sharing the only downstairs bathroom with us) for two months. I love Grammy, don’t get me wrong, but who knew two months had 2947 weeks!? But seriously, I don’t think it was so much Grammy as it was just another human in our house for that long. I’m so grateful that the kids get to spend so much time with her and will have all those wonderful memories, but as she left she told us that she was going to go back to her home in Rockford, Illinois and never leave again! So I guess it was as hard on her as it was on me. But God love her, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her. She celebrated 90 years on earth with us while she was here. What a blessing!

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We also recently had a wonderful week with Ba and Nana (my in laws). They were here to start July with us and left on the 7th. Here is the wonderful thing about my in laws… my mother in law is like the most perfect babysitter. She is actually willing to sit on the floor and play with the kids! I can’t say that I’m actually willing to do that, and I gave birth to those littles. And they just cannot get enough of her. I actually don’t think they asked me for a single thing the entire time she was here. It was quite the break! And my father in law loves to sit on the porch, drink wine, and talk about God and the Bible. I mean… can you think of a better Monday night?

We very much enjoyed their visit and had a great first week of July. Thomas has started playing song writing competitions in Nashville, which is a huge step! He’s gone up three times and although he didn’t win this round, it’s amazing practice as he hasn’t played in front of people in probably 8 or 9 years. It was a giant, looming dry spell that just really needed to be broken. And it’s officially broken. While Tom (big Tom as we call him to differentiate Tom’s) and I had our wine and our chat on the front porch, Thomas and his mom headed to Nashville for the competition. Thomas won’t let me go because I make him nervous, which is strange because I literally listen to him play in our living room every single day. But don’t worry, I’m not even offended. I am, however, very proud of this big step and look forward to see what the Lord will do with it.

We celebrated the 4th of July in a big way in our amazing multi acre backyard. We had 8-10 families over for a cook out- not to be confused with a BBQ- and some good old fashioned fireworks! Here’s the deal though… fireworks here are not like the fireworks I’m used to. I grew up in California where if you fart to hastily, you’ll start a fire. So any kind of firework that leave the ground in any kind of way, or anywhere where there was a tree or could have been a tree or might be a tree growing… You just can’t do fireworks in those kinds of ways and places. You’ve got to keep it super small potatoes, and be sure to keep a hose on hand and your finger on 911.

In Tennessee, however, you can’t catch things on fire even if you try! And trust me, we try! We doused our fire pit with gasoline, and put a freaking particle board desk on top of the pile and we could NOT get that thing to light. We’ve yet to have a fire in our fire pit where we actually get to sit and enjoy it. It’s just so damp all the time. So needless to say, basically any kind of firework that you can imagine is readily available at the stand outside the grocery store and any joe schmo (or Thomas) can light them off any ol’ place. We had quite the show, I assure you!

While my in laws were here, we also hiked one of our favorite locations- Still House Falls! It’s an easy hike that the kids can do, and it’s stunning and it’s close to home, so it’s a go to!

However, on this go, we had our very first encounter with a snake! I’ve lived here over a year- in snake country, mind you- and I’ve successfully avoided all snakes thus far! There have been a few black snakes on the farm at certain points (none I’ve seen) but they’re ‘good’ snakes (which doesn’t mean we spared their life… we felt threatened!). But while we were creek walking, a small snake was coming down the creek towards us. I imagine it calling out, “On your right!”

Thomas saw it, because he has spider sense eye sight, and warned us all. And it was a good thing because it was going straight for Cadence. She got out of the way before she even laid eyes on it, but I had already made it to shore. In fairness, I didn’t know where the snake was when he yelled, but after the fact I was pretty disappointed in my parental instincts! #momfail

At the time we thought it was likely a baby copper head, which is poisonous, but after calming down we realized it was more likely just a regular water snake. It didn’t actually look anything like a copper head… but when you feel threatened, man, it might as well have been the devil himself coming down that stream.

Speaking of poisonous things, we may have also had our first two poisonous spider bites. Here’s the deal… this is the thing of my worst nightmares. Y’all know, if you’ve been reading my blog, that spiders nearly made me go running back to Nevada when I first got here (read more here), so when I saw two separate bites on two separate kids, there was a pretty serious sinking feeling in my stomach. I knew we would have to burn the house down.

Gage had one on his shin. It looked like a normal spider bite in the morning and then about two hours later, it looked like an egg had been laid under the skin. It was so swollen and it actually looked like it had a blister. We almost had to abandon our hike and head for the urgent care, but instead I texted my dear friend, Faith, who is a Nurse Practitioner and she suggested giving him Benadryl and treating it topically. That seemed to work just fine! Crisis averted.

The next day Cadence had a bite on her back! Same thing! It was fine one minute and then a huge puss pocket with a red rim around it the next.

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Faith came through again, confirming that she suspected a Brown Recluse bite (she said it so calmly though), and brought over some antibiotic ointment and told us how to treat it and how to watch it, and she discouraged me from burning my house down or moving.

Here’s the deal… isn’t it funny how sometimes the thing you fear the most turns out to be a complete non thing? So we’ve got two scenarios here and I’m going to call them both wins:

  1. The kids did not get bitten by Brown Recluses. It was some other kind of bite- likely a wolf spider as they’re everywhere- and they had a little bit of a reaction to it which is common and normal, and the reaction was mild.
  2. They DID get bitten by Brown Recluses and it was absolutely not a big deal at all. No scar. No death. No house burning needed.

So in addition to all that excitement, the very last thing we did while my in laws were in town was drive the Natchez Trace. This is basically a government funded and maintained highway that covers the same general trail that Native Americans and all the way to Luis and Clark traversed. There can’t be any commercial traffic on it, so it’s an impossibly lovely drive. And the best part is, it actually goes somewhere. We took it all the way up to Franklin, where we hopped off and had lunch at one of our favorite haunts- Barbara’s home cooking… you MUST go there if you’re in Nashville- and then headed home via the regular freeway.

While driving the trace, we pulled off at Jackson Falls to hike down and see the waterfall. As we were getting out of the car, we could hear the not so far off thunder of the storm that had been promised for the day.

The wind was picking up which means the storm front was upon us. Readers, the weather here… I know I talk about it a lot, but it amazes me. As unpredictable as it is, it’s so easy to read when it’s happening. The dark clouds come. Then the wind. Then the rain. Thunder stays throughout- before, during, after. So when you feel the wind, you know you’ve got 5-10 minutes before the rain if you’re lucky.

We weren’t lucky that day.

We tried to out run it, but no sooner had we gotten to the bottom of the trail where the falls was, did the rain start up. And the rain here doesn’t just start with a drizzle. It’s the thing of movies. You know, where there is a ridiculous crash of thunder and then it’s as if someone turned on the shower head. We suspected the cover of the woods would give us a little shelter while we hiked back out.

We suspected wrong.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the group of us as we hurtled towards the car. We were quite the sight. I looked like Lisa Left-eye Lopez when I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror, because a rain drop had struck me right in the eye on the run up. Just the one eye. And my Pure, Safe and Beneficial mascara can’t stand up to- as Forrest Gump would call it- big ol’ fat rain.

All and all, we had a fantastic visit with the in laws and are readying the farm for my mom, who arrives in just two short days. We’ve only lived here a little over a year, but I think we’ve had 15-20 families come through here already. I wonder if people just can’t figure out this whole move-to-a-farm-thing and they just have to come see it for themselves, but I’m thrilled about it. I love entertaining and the one thing I feared moving out into the country was that it would be too far for people to come over. Thank God that has not yet been the case.

He is good. And He knows.

The second half of the summer is fixin’ (yep, I’m southern) to be just as lively and exciting as the first half, so stay tuned and keep reading. It makes me so happy to know that all these words aren’t for naught. I love the comments and praise. I love to hear how you’re all enjoying following along on our adventure. I suppose we do live a rather unconventional life… and I wouldn’t have it any other way of course.

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