Here's the truth, lovey.
So in the past ten years, Jeff and I have lived in one apartment, three houses we've bought, and two houses we've rented. And in all that time, I've never really gotten to know my neighbors that well. I loved our neighbors at our first house (that's you, Tracy! :) but that was before we had Ashtyn and I was working a lot back then so I wasn't as available. I think good neighbors are such a huge blessing. Neighbors can really make or break your living experience. If you're living around people who make you crazy, it's probably a good idea to move. As of next month, we've lived in this current house for one year. Gosh, I can hardly believe it. This was a new build, as were the houses directly around us. So some of our neighbors have been here even less than a year. I told Jeff that if we're planning to stay here for a while (remember, lovey, I'm prone to moving), I really want to at least know my neighbors.
I'm sort of an introvert. I feel like people don't always believe me when I say this but it's true! I love to be social, but I can only take it in short doses. I love to plan time with friends, but I also really love to just be home with my family. Usually, I try to plan one play date/coffee date per week, and sometimes that doesn't even happen. I need both. I need friends and people in my life. But I also need solitude (impossible with kids, but you know what I mean). I need home and rest and nothing on my calendar.
Absolutely one of the highlights of my summer was my book club party. I looked forward to it for weeks and I had so much fun planning it! And really, it was a perfect night. I loved it. But that was one party for the summer. Another thing I had on my to-do list was a summer brunch. I kept putting it off, but I really wanted to host a summer brunch with my neighbors before school started. So last week I decided to make this happen without too much fanfare. I bought some simple invitations (this was because I didn't know everyone so I don't have email addresses or phone numbers!) and I went to the two houses on either side of me and a couple of houses across the street and I dropped off invites. I also invited my friend from a few streets away and she invited another friend from the neighborhood. I dropped off invites at the start of the week and the brunch was to be Saturday morning. So not a whole lot of notice. Then again, it was just a simple breakfast and all these girls live in my neighborhood. :)
I decided to make a quiche and a casserole (because, um, those are the two breakfast foods I can make) and just buy something sweet (cinnamon rolls), and Nancy offered to bring fruit (I really love her). I had coffee and juice to serve, and voila! There's brunch for you. Jeff had brought me roses earlier in the week, and I loved the color and knew I'd want to use that as our centerpiece. I really enjoy setting my table, but the truth is that people appreciate the invitation more than the table settings. Paper plates and napkins and store-bought cake work just fine. It's all about the hospitality. It's about the friendship. It's about the conversation.
One of the neighbors couldn't make it but everyone else texted me an RSVP that they were excited to come. Yay! It was such a simple, easy gathering to host, and I am so glad I went for it. I loved getting to know the women who live around us. Where they're from, what they do, just a piece of their story--now we can put names to faces, and when we wave and say hello, it's because we know each other. I was able to squeeze in this quick get together before school starts next Monday. We were a range of ages and life stages. That's okay. It's simply about knowing each other. If you don't know you're neighbors, and even if you lean toward being an introvert, let me encourage you to be brave and try to get to know someone. You can invite one person over for coffee and fruit, and that's enough. You don't have to host lots of parties or invite lots of people over. Hospitality is about opening your heart first and foremost.
Summer vacation is officially coming to an end. This weekend we went and bought all of Ashtyn's school supplies (which cost a small fortune. Seriously, we had to spend $20 on pencils. Are. You. Kidding. Me.). I can see that Ash is conflicted. She's sad to see summer vacay end, but she's excited for school. I understand. There's something very thrilling about new backpacks and such. ;) She's also counting down until her birthday. I mean counting down, literally on her calendar, daily. She's so excited. She's big enough that birthdays now involve her own friends (instead of just my mom friends and their kids!). She gets to tell me what she wants, and this year, she wants a surprise party. Really. More than anything, she wants to come inside our house and hear people yell, "Surprise!"
So that's what we'll do. :) I've recruited my sister Sara to help. She's more creative than I could ever be. So we've got school starting and then a birthday party in our immediate future. Last night Jeff and I watched the season finale of Poldark. Oh gosh. If you haven't watched it, get online and watch it. We loved it. Sunday nights have been like our date nights for summer. We put the kids to bed and watch Poldark. Excellent.
It's the last week of summer vacation, lovey. And my kids have spent half the day playing in Ashtyn's room. The loft looks destroyed with toys. I'm doing laundry and thinking of the huge batch of pulled pork I have leftover from yesterday. I'm thinking pork enchiladas and taco salad are on the menu for tonight. Tomorrow night is book club at a new friend's house. I'm a little tired today. I had to get up twice last night with Lily. And the summer cold has now passed to Jeff. Poor guy.
It's just another day in the life over here.