Summer Summery

I almost titled this post a midsummer night’s scream so, you’re welcome.

The “baby” did wake up about eleventy times last night, however, so I would have been justified in so doing.

Also, hi, hello. I’ve all but forgotten how to log into my wordpress account but that’s life these days. I’ve recently been stopped by two lovely, perfect strangers out and about who kindly shared how much they enjoyed and missed my blogging, and it was exactly as encouraging and awkward as you can admit. One of them asked if I was too busy to write these days and I sort of glazed over and gazed off into the distance just over her shoulder for probably too many seconds of silence before shaking my head and saying something profound like “um, oh, yes, a little bit.”

But I’m not like, super busy. It’s more like I’m just wandering around all day putting in load after load of laundry in and spraying people with sunscreen and poking at half frozen meat thawing into a probably dangerous puddle on the counter and then bam! It’s like 9 pm. Does that make sense?

Ok, good. I didn’t want to give anyone the impression I was over here writing the next great American novel or anything.

I’m just pleasantly motoring along through the middle years of motherhood, I think. It’s still very hard some nights (cringes inwardly over last night’s shenanigans) but mostly it’s just … busy.

We’re on a good rotation with visits to the pool down the street and I’ve finally cracked the swimming lesson code: either pay for back to back weeks of lessons and then go to the pool a lot, to reinforce what is actually learned and ensure the skills get baked in, or just … go to the pool a lot.

We’ve opted for plan B this summer, and it’s great. If you’d asked me a year ago would I ever take 6 kids 10 and under to the pool by myself, I probably would have told you to go wash your mouth out with soap. But I’ve been doing it! And it’s mostly great! There was one dark day where I forgot my own swimsuit and things did not go well from there, but provided I remember all the goggles and puddle jumpers, it really has been a sea change for our summer routine. Also, the resident 3 year old sleeps great after a day in the sun.

We’re one two (see, this is why I can’t blog anymore) week(s) into a long-awaited kitchen renovation and it is unbelievably exciting and also a bit like indoor camping, minus the part where you don’t sleep in a real bed. Thank God, there is a real bed. We’ve been saving up and DIY-ing temporary fixes and updates since we bought this house 4 years ago, but the moment for a more long term solution is here.

Is it one million times more expensive and more disruptive than I’d envisioned in my wildest, HGTV-fueled dreams? Yes, yes it is. But I’m gratefully leaning into this season of temporary chaos for a space that will better serve our family and allow us to host our extended clan more comfortably. (Or at least, will fit all 8 of us around the dinner table without hitting the walls.)

Back in the spring of 2020 a couple of months into lockdown, my sister was over one day and I was lamenting our 12×10 cramped dining/school/office room when a gleam came into her eye and we somehow managed to hulk my massive dining table sideways through the entrance into the formal dining room and out into the living room, where we plopped it unceremoniously onto the carpet and thus it has remained for lo these many months since. I did dress it up at one point by sitting it atop a stylishly and pathologically stupidly placed jute rug, but once you’ve scrapped old salmon and refried beans out of jute fibers, you learn pretty quick that toddlers and jute don’t mix. Ahem.

This is what our new “dining room” looked like, styled up and moderately functional these past 15 months:

And this is what it looked like last week:

But wait! It has actually looked worse. Behold, the original view from our first year in this house, complete with extremely-pregnant-with-Zelie me:

And here’s where we’re sitting today – well, not sitting, per se, since there are no surfaces upon which to perch. But, progress!

Tomorrow morning, if all goes well, the cabinets will show up. Crossing my fingers and toes since I’ve only been waiting for them since March. It’s a long, sordid tale involving, believe it or not, the Suez Canal. But I won’t bore you with the details.

I’ll be sure to include some action shots and final “afters” after it’s all said and done. In the meantime, I’ve got to get busy meal planning for another back-to-back-to-back week of alternating hot dogs and grilled frozen pizza (!!!)

Missed you,



  • Lina MGM

    Oh thank goodness you had pics. Now MOARRRR pics!! I love the use the giant(er) living room for dining idea! You can always cozy and squish together in couches and floors to play or watch tv. Not so much to eat 😆😆. Even your temporary sister aided solution looked fantastic!

    I also have discovered that pool trick with the modification of going after 3pm until bedtime (bring jams! Shower to jams at pool 🙌🏽) Bc i loathe putting on sunscreen with the fire of a thousand suns 😆

    But yes please update on project Bc my love language is “real people with real budgets do reasonable but life improving home projects” which is a sorely underrepresented love language lollll

  • Lisa

    Oh Jenny- thrice we have done the swim lessons months to a year apart cycle and just, why. So much schlepping and money and starting over again at the same level. I’ve finally realized the things you mentioned, and it’s been good.
    Also, will be eagerly awaiting your kitchen reveal!!

  • Anne

    The pool! What a lifesaver! I allows moms to walk away from the house overwhelm!. Stick with the lessons–for no other reason than for those glorious 30 mins, someone else watches the big kids while you manage the littles in the baby pool. Great idea with the dining new home.

    • Laura Pearl

      I’m so happy when I see you’ve posted!

      Your plan B—go to the pool a lot—IS the secret,I believe. When our 5 boys were young we went almost daily. I’m convinced that does more than lessons.

      • Emily

        Your schedule is so much like ours (including a minor kitchen renovation :D)… daily pool trips! It’s a lot of work to get there but it is 100% worth it. The kids don’t need a million camps or activities. All they want to do is swim.

        Hope you have a happy rest of the summer!

  • Rachel

    This really reduces my mom guilt about not being able to afford swim lessons. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard “swimming is a life skill, all kids need swim lessons.” Walking and talking are also life skills, and most kids figure these out without lessons.

  • Ana Hahn

    I’m so glad I checked in! Your post before this one had me nodding so violently i almost pulled a muscle. But seriously I always love all your posts- and cannot wait for afters of the kitchen, so excited for you!!!

  • John Strohsnitter

    “Half frozen meat thawing into a probably dangerous puddle on the counter”???? ROFL!!! My wife does this too. Wan something really dangerous” There’s a 35 year old can of SPAM in our cupboard that I can’t get my wife to discard. If that can rots out, it will release the Andromeda Strain!!

    I had the benefit of growing up in a Catholic family of 2 parents and 6 kids. Unfortunately, my wife and I did not have that many. We have one child the hardest way, the death of his younger brother at the age of 7 and the miscarriage of his youngest sister. My Catholic Faith sustains me through this.

    May God bless you and all your endeavors, especially your articles on Pro-Life and raising your brood. You (and I’m sure that your Husband contributes or tries to) do more good than you can imagine!! Keep writing!!

    Best Regards,

    John Strohsnitter

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