Book Review: Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

Goodreads Summary:

At the age of eleven, Mel Smith’s life found its purpose when she met Sarah Ross. Ten years later, Sarah’s sudden death threatens to break her. To fulfill a final promise to her best friend, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains. Yet Morgan’s Gap is more than a land of morning mists and deep forest shadows.

There are secrets that call to Mel, in the gaze of the gnarled and knowing woman everyone calls Granny, in a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions, and in the connection, she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it.

With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah’s untimely death and that has now set its sight on Mel.

My thoughts:

I loved every single thing about this book. Can I please move to Morgan’s Gap? There are a few things that will automatically draw me to a book (besides the cover). Magical realism (my favorite genre), witches, folklore, small towns, nature, mystery…this book has it all. I could not put it down, and dreamed my nights away in dreams of misty mountains, blackberries, homemade bread and jam.

Mel is a tough nut to crack. Hardened and honed by multiple foster homes where she was unloved and mistreated, she keeps her defenses high and her trust low. The only person she has let into her heart is her foster sister Sarah, whose death shatters that heart that is so hard to wiggle into. She makes a pilgrimage to Sarah’s hometown, where Sarah is from, where her roots were firmly entrenched before the tragedy that wrenched her away.

Here Mel slowly lowers her defenses, starting her life over in the place that Sarah had so deeply loved. She starts to make new connections, to the people who remembered Sarah and her family, to the land, to the community. And when forces start to threaten this new life of hers, Mel relies on all she has learned to keep hold of this new start, this place where she has found a home and friends.

Reece has an amazing way with words. I could feel the lushness of the wildwood, the beauty of the land and the mountains, taste the sweetness of the honey. I just about cried at one scene in the book, when Mel goes to visit the local apiarist. And phew, one scene that should be so simple is so .. er.. hot. This book is full of strong emotions, love and grief, hope and evil. This book was beautiful and wonderful and wild.

I absolutely loved this book, and I can’t wait until the next one in the series, Wildwood Magic, is released! Unfortunately that is all the way in November – but right before my birthday, so…there is that!

So go. Go now and lose yourself in the magic of the wildwood! (well, if that is your sort of thing, that is..)

Classic Movie Impressions: The Thin Man

A few weeks ago Lisa from Boondock Ramblings and I started recommending old movies to each other. My first suggestion to her was A Streetcar Named Desire, while she had me watch Double Indemnity. This second round had me watching The Thin Man, while I stuck with Tennessee Williams for her by suggesting Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. You can see her post here!

I have to be honest, I had never heard of The Thin Man movies before. I do however like old time sleuths (and modern day sleuths) and so I was game.

Nick is a retired detective, Nora is an heiress, and their life seems like one big happy party, filled with crazy characters from Nick’s past, crooks and con-men and all sorts who pop in to their apartment at all times, mainly for drinks but sometimes, they pop in to confess to murder. After one such confession, Nora encourages Nick to get involved in helping to solve the case, which he does.

This movie had us giggling and laughing over the antics and witty smart remarks that flowed as easily as the booze in this movie. Nick and Nora are full of mischief and martinis, and this movie made me want to get all spruced up and go out for cocktails. Perhaps one day soon, I will. I also really loved the chemistry that existed between Loy and Powell. I feel like they genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.

Billy and I could not believe how well this movie has held up through the years. It came out in 1934, 88 years ago! I guess that is why it is a classic. It was witty, fast paced, complex, and entertaining. Billy and I also could see how the detective mystery type shows we watch today were most likely influenced by The Thin Man and Dashiell Hammet. At the end of The Thin Man, Nick Charles gathers all of the suspects together for a big reveal, explaining everything that happened and exposing the murderer – just like the detectives in Death in Paradise do. The snarky playful relationship of Nick and Nora reminded us of Castle and Beckett, Mr. and Mrs. Murder, Miss Fisher and Jack, and to some extent Shepherd and Sims from The Brokenwood Mysteries.

However, for me the standout performance was this guy.

This doggo! He was so darn cute and funny! His real name was Skippy and he was a wire fox terrier, said to be one of the most intelligent working in the industry at that time. And I totally believe it!

Overall, we both really loved this movie, and were happy to discover that there are a bunch more Nick and Nora and Asta movies we can watch!

Next Up:

For Lisa, I picked Blue Hawaii. The last two movies I picked for her were super heavy and intense – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. So I wanted to give her something light and fluffy and summery. I remembered how over the summer as pre-teen/teen I used to love watching these old Elvis movies and I thought you really can’t get much more light and fluffy.

Lisa picked To Catch a Thief for us – and I am so excited to watch it!

Morning Coffee Catch Up

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

The coffee is hot and delicious this morning! This week we are drinking Seattle’s Best Post Alley, a dark roast and dang, it is smooth.

Wyatt started swim lessons! He is super excited about going, this kid loves a pool. I had to explain though that while this is fun, it is more for learning and not playing around. That is reserved for grandma’s pool!

If you read my National Parks Jr. Ranger post, you might remember that Wyatt and I tried an online version for Denali National Park. Since we are probably not going to make it to Denali in his youth, and he knows about Denali from the PBS cartoon Molly of Denali, we started there. We completed the activity book together and mailed it in, and Friday Wyatt received the nicest letter and his badge in the mail!

Saturday night was date night! Billy and I went to our local street art fair, which is huge! We walked around, browsed, had a drink and some food, and bought a print for our bedroom. I am making a gallery wall of night time nature type prints and this one will fit perfectly! It immediately spoke to me, the moon, the fireflies, and it reminded me of our recent mini-getaway. The artists, Dennis and Christina of Arsenal Handicraft, are local to us and had beautiful artwork! They do illustration and screenprinting and I wanted to buy everything.

Sunday we did yard work, in spurts because it was super muggy. I have a ton of new bites on my leg from something, which is not cool. Our wildflower garden experiment is starting to pay off! Except, we don’t know what is a flower or a weed until it blooms! Or doesn’t, I guess? I pulled a bunch today after using Google Lens, but I left quite a bit I was feeling skeptical about. We will see! I also felt in communion with grasshoppers as they were leaping all around me as I was working. We have so many! And my caterpillar count is up to..11? Maybe 12. I have filled up most of my empty tanks so this might be it for a while.

And now I guess I’d better get a moving!

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Hey all!

After a few weeks of playing around and having fun, I spent this past week trying to catch up on work. I had so much just “house business” to do – all those fun things like cleaning, making appointments, accumulated paperwork that I needed to fill out, just all the odds and ends of living. Wyatt is now going to therapy again twice a week, and in August that bumps up to three times a week (PT, OT, and speech) and he is also taking swim lessons on Fridays. This week we both also have doctor’s appointments so this week will also be full. Then hopefully, we will have a return to our normalish schedule. I am looking forward to it!

Reading:

I finished up Hotel Paradise, which was just as good as I remembered it. Martha Grimes is a beautiful writer. I also started Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece and I am loving it! It takes me FOR-EV-ER to finish a book these days just due to life, but I read it absolutely every second I can. It is so good – full of magic and nature and community.

Watching and Listening:

Billy and I have almost finished up Stranger Things – we just have the epically long finale left. 2.5 hours! Why!? We also have been trying to catch as much of the Tour as we can. Billy has watched the Tour de France for years and years but I only started watching about 10 years ago. We usually only end up watching the highlights these days but it is still fascinating and exciting to us. I feel sort of blah about it this year, as my favorite rider Mikel Landa is not participating this time.

We also watched our classic movie suggestion from Lisa at Boondock Ramblings – The Thin Man starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. My impressions post will be up Wednesday for those who are interested!

We are listening to a lot of Kate Bush around here lately – she has experienced a resurgence thanks to Stranger Things. I somehow missed her while I was growing up in the 80s. I was too busy listening to Madonna and Michael Jackson back then I guess. I still find myself commanding my Alexa to play Lord Huron, Tom Petty, and 70s Classic Folk a lot though.

Posted Last Week:

Mini-Getaway – about our stay in a tiny house on a farm

Mini-Getaway – Days Two and Three

Amazon Prime Day Deals I Love – (although Prime Day is over)

Things That Made Me Smile Thursday

And that is about it from my little corner of the Mitten State! I hope all is well with you!

Things That Made Me Smile Thursday

I was on Instagram earlier this morning, scrolling while I sipped on my first coffee of the day, and someone had posted little things that make them smile. Which got me thinking, what made me smile this week?

  1. Our small but mighty raspberry bushes! They are not big or not many but they produce enough right now for us to have a handful or two every few days. My little niece happily raided them the other night, and … it made me smile. That is one of my favorite ever memories of my Uncle Art, eating fruit and vegetables straight from the garden, still warm from the sun.

2. The toothless grin of my feral child. He was over the moon with excitement over this rock we found on a walk and talked about it the entire walk. I love that these small things can make him so happy.

3. That a whole stack of books I requested from the library came in at once on a day that I was sort of having a crummy day. This made me happy and made my day feel brighter. I felt like I had won the library book lottery!

4. This is pictured at the top, but bubbles! Can anyone not smile when they see bubbles? Wyatt and I spent some time hanging on the porch during the heat of the day, in the shade, while he blew bubbles and shot bubbles out of his bubble gun. Because life is fancy these days, with battery operated bubble guns.

5. Little caterpillars! I wasn’t going to bring any in this year other than the batch I saved from a hail storm, but I noticed they were losing the war in the yard, between parasitic wasps and predatory insects and birds. They all deserve to survive too, but I thought I would start bringing some in to raise. It was making me sad to see them disappear overnight! So I have three little hungry hungry caterpillars right now and watching them munch and munch makes me smile.

What are some things that have made you smile this week?

Amazon Prime Day Deals I Love!

Prime Day is here! I have already been online shopping, looking for deals for our family and I wanted to share some of the cool things I have found, as well as sharing some of the things we already own and love! With the cost of living right now, I thought this would be a good time to purchase homeschool items and things we might need, because, sale!! **UPDATE: These sales are now over**

**This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. If you were to purchase an item from one of these links I would make a small commission at no extra cost to you! But please, do not feel like you need to even look at them or make a purchase! Also Amazon changes deals often – I will try to keep these updated**

This is sort of a hodgepodge of things, with more of an emphasis on stuff for kids, but I do have some of my favorite things at the end!

Guess in 10 – Animal Planet: We love playing this game together. Sometimes we play it as a game, other times we just use the cards as reference for different animal studies.

Guess in 10 – States of America: This is in my cart! We love the animal version so much that I am getting this United States version since we will be starting to study the states this upcoming school year.

Dauber Dawgs – Oh my gosh does Wyatt love dot markers. We have been using them forever and ever, like since he was 2 or 3 and he still loves them. You can use them for creating artistic masterpieces, building fine motor skills, and learning activities. They are so cool and easy for kids to use!

National Geographic Rock, Mineral, and Fossil Kit: I bought this for Wyatt at the beginning of last year and we are still exploring it! It’s really neat and has inspired us to become rock hounds and hopefully get a rock tumbler this fall.

National Geographic Activity Journal Set: This is another thing in my cart. It is half off and would be a great stocking stuffer. (yep, I start early)

The Julia Rothman Collection: We LOVE these books and use them all the time. I even enjoy using them as a resource for my own knowledge – and the illustrations are wonderful. This is an amazing deal!

Sum Swamp: We are big game players over here and this is another thing in my cart. Anything to make Wyatt like math a bit more! I don’t think this is even a prime day deal, but it was on sale and looked cool. Ooops.

Sight Word Game: We have a slightly different version but it is in essence the same. Wyatt loves this and makes learning sight words a bit more exciting.

Life Cycle Kit Toy: We are all about life cycles over here. Both Wyatt and my niece love learning about them and this kit contains the life cycles of six different animals.

Butterfly Garden: This is the item that got us started on raising butterflies and learning life cycles.

Ok – now for some of my faves!

Overalls: I have a confession – I could live in overalls. I have these in this army green color and in black and I love them!

Woodland wooden measuring spoons: Wyatt always steals my measuring spoons for play, and I got tired of not being able to find them when I needed them. So, I bought these super cute ones and keep them in a jar on my counter and get him plastic dollar store versions. Win-win for everyone! I’ve had them at least a year and they have kept their designs even after going through the dishwasher.

Echo Dot: Ok – so I have a small house, like under 1000 feet. And we have four of these. One in the den, one in our room, one in my office, and one in the basement office. I love being able to just say, “Echo, play (insert musician of choice here) everywhere” and music fills our house. I also love being able to drop in and make announcements to Billy when he is in the office. We use them constantly, to ask questions, to get the weather, the time, to set alarms – they are super useful. And right now $20 bucks each when they are usually $50! I pair mine with an Amazon Music Unlimited membership.

Star Tea Strainer: This is in my cart. For me. Because I want to feel magical when I am making tea.

And phew! We made it to the end!! What are some of your favorite purchases from Amazon?

Mini-Getaway: Days Two and Three

Wyatt is possibly a farmer boy at heart.

Day two, the sun was shining, the rooster was crowing, and we were up too. Early, because Wyatt is a total early bird. But that is ok because we got to see the farm wake up as well. The chickens were clucking and possibly laying eggs, making that Bawkbawkbawk-baBAWK noise. I love a breakfast and coffee in the morning sun so as soon as I could I stepped out onto the deck with my little sidekick while Billy was lounging about in bed still. He rolled out not long after, lured by the coffee, and joined us. We finished up our breakfast and coffee seconds before the dogs raced over to see us, and we gave them lots of pets before exploring the farm.

Usually I “McGill” a vacation – that is my maiden name and we are a people full of action a lot of the time, especially on vacation. We want to see and do it all! However, my intention for this trip was exactly the opposite. I had to turn down the McGill and just be. Wyatt and Billy are masters at relaxing, so I slowed my roll and it was an amazingly restful and slow day. We hung around the farm most of the day, except for three things – getting ice cream, trying mead at a local meadery, and getting pizza (takeout).

It was a lovely lazy day. All the fresh air and exploration zonked a little someone out, so we took him to bed and I read a bit of Charlotte’s Web to him before he officially turned in.

Then Billy and I caught the sunset, and sat and chatted while watching the deer in the meadow for a long while before turning in ourselves.

The next morning the guys stayed in bed, and our little friend was back. I went out to have breakfast with him, and his friend showed up. I felt well attended and guarded with my dog friends.

Before too long, it was time to go home, and we were not ready! We are already talking about a return visit in the fall. We just loved it that much. Before we left we said our goodbyes to the animals and I spotted a teensy chicken! Is this a baby? A young juvenile? A tiny chicken? I wanted to cuddle it!

The details, just in case anyone is ever in Michigan and wants a relaxing respite.

The Details:

We stayed at the Firefly Stargazer tiny house studio, located in Hastings, MI. It is really intended for 1-2 people, but I emailed and they were very accommodating about Wyatt after I explained his different needs and we assured them we don’t mind being snug. It is a perfect mix of modern farmhouse and rustic, with a super comfortable bed and fluffy pillows. I feel like Elena and Victoria really put so much thought and care into the little touches – the ultra soft bed, the cozy blankets, including the teddy bear blankets, the thick and fluffy towels, and books and games. And seriously, whatever laundry detergent they use smells amazing. Like, I might email to ask. The shower was not a super tiny stall where you feel like you are touching the walls or curtain which I hate, it was a nice size for a tiny house.

One thing that might be different. It has a compost toilet. This was new to Billy and I, and frankly, it was honestly not a big deal. It was easy, and despite my skepticism about it, there were no issues. I actually felt virtuous like some sort of eco-warrior when I used it.

Elena and Victoria try to live exclusively from what they grow and raise on the farm, which is also an organic farm as much as possible. Elena is retired military and both women are extremely nice and friendly. And the dogs – I can’t tell you how much I loved them. I had dogs my entire adult life until our dog passed away right at the time Wyatt was born and we just never thought it was a good time to adopt another after Penny. So it was so nice to be with dogs like that again.

The trip was super relaxing and I recommend it to anyone needing a reset!

Mini-Getaway!

This weekend we took a short little mini-getaway to West Michigan. I wanted a trip where we could really unwind and relax and be absolutely lazy if we wanted. We are not beach people, so a beach trip wouldn’t be that fun for us. So, I looked for something different – and found a farm.

Just a two hour drive from us, this tiny house looked adorable on Airbnb – and was even better in person! However, we did have a few stops before we got there.

Our adventure kicked off with lunch at Virtue Cider in Fennville. I love Virtue Cider, and was so excited to take an adult field trip (plus one child) to their ciderie. It was spendy but I loved it, and I have wanted to go for a long time. I ordered the Briard cider with a turkey and havarti sandwich, Billy enjoyed the ham and gruyere with a glass of Abeille, and Wyatt was happy with a grilled cheese and water. I knew I was going to buy a bottle of one that was difficult to buy at home, so I opted for the Lapinette. (You guys know I love rabbits!)

Afterward we still had some time before we could check in at the tiny house on the farm, so we stopped at a local creamery called Evergreen Lane. They make all the cheeses in their creamery, right there, from their own goats and then locally sourced milk from dairies. We ended buying the Lily Rose, and then a sampler that had Noella, Poet’s Tomme, and a cheddar. After splurging on cheese, we stopped by a field of poppies! A local blueberry farmer planted 4 acres in honor of his son, a soldier who didn’t return home. We were there a bit late in the season to see the full effect but we still were struck by the sentiment and in awe of the flowers that were still in bloom.

It was starting to get dark from an incoming rainstorm, so we hit the road again – next stop the tiny home!

We pulled in and the rain was just coming down like crazy! We raced up the garden path and up the few stairs and burst in to the shelter. And instantly fell in love with our little home for the weekend! I threw open the curtains, including those for the skylight, and we lay on the bed just listening and watching the rain come down. This for some reason had a huge impact on kiddo. He talked about it all weekend, the rain on the skylight. It is always surprising to me what kids hold on to. After an hour, the rain stopped and we had a furry visitor at the door!

What a sweet and handsome ambassador to welcome us!! Three dogs actually live on the property which is a working farm, and they were all so friendly. This dog, Skye, was our little companion much of the weekend.

We just chilled out for the rest of the night, playing games and reading, and when Wyatt fell asleep, Billy and I tiptoed outside to watch the fireflies, drink our cider, and eat our cheese. The cheese was very good, although maybe a bit stronger than we are used to. Very earthy. We both thought the Lily Rose was the best of the bunch.

It was so peaceful and beautiful, looking out at the meadow, listening to most of the world start to settle down around us, while some creatures were just getting started, like the fireflies and the trilling tree frogs.

I could have sat out there all night but eventually we had to turn in. And the bed! Seriously comfortable and it smelled so good! It was the best night of sleep any of us have had for a long time.

And that is it for day one! (Don’t worry there will only be one more, mostly photos!)

2022-2023 Homeschool Curriculum Reveal!

If you have ever homeschooled, or know someone who does, then you probably know just how much time, effort, research, conversations, and comparisons go into picking the curriculum your child uses. Our position is unique – we do not need to choose something that will be effective for an entire school district of children all with different needs. We need only choose based on our own child and their educational journey. However, despite having a much, much smaller student body, it is just as important and just as time consuming.

After weighing Wyatt’s needs, where he is academically, and how he best learns, I FINALLY made my choices and started purchasing them, always with the slightest trepidation and anxiety about making the wrong choice. And then I remind myself, when I start doubting myself, that if it doesn’t work, then we find something that does. Wyatt’s education is probably our biggest expense outside of our actual bills, and it is something we sometimes make sacrifices for. But it is 100% worth it.

The homeschool world has so many options. Secular, non-secular, nature based, wildschooling, unschooling, roadschooling. We sort of take a little bit of everything over here, and have a very eclectic approach. The past two years we have used Blossom and Root for everything, for the most part, and then in January I decided Wyatt needed more structure in math and in grammar, so I added in another curriculum. We will be using bits and pieces from a few different curriculum this year, including one that I am designing myself.

This year for Math we are using The Good and the Beautiful, which is what we started using in January last year. Since we started using it late in the year, we will finish up from where we left off before moving on to Course 2. We both like it quite a bit, and math is Wyatt’s least favorite so that is a definite win! It is academically strong, easy to follow, hardly any preparation, and very aesthetically pleasing, which really isn’t important at all but does make it nicer. They also utilize a lot of nature themes, which we enjoy, and use inclusive and diverse images. Wyatt and I were very pleased to see one of the lessons included an illustration of a little girl with braces and crutches! Kids like to see themselves reflected in books and Wyatt definitely liked that lesson.

Since we are talking about The Good and the Beautiful, I will just say we are also using it for reading and grammar, for all of the same reasons. One other thing about The Good and the Beautiful – you can purchase the whole kit and caboodle, or you can get a download of the curriculum for free! I think this is spectacular. The program is fantastic, and I like that anyone can have access to it for their child.

We are sticking with Blossom and Root for science, as their science and nature program is very strong. It looks like this year is going to be learning all about the world of plants – which is pretty exciting to me as well!

I was looking at Michigan’s Common Core because I do try to make sure we follow along in our own way, and it didn’t look like there was much on there about history/geography/social studies. It seems to focus quite a bit on community so we will make sure to include that in our studies, but I also added in Traveling the States by The Waldock Way. I think it is perfect for where Wyatt is right now. It gives him a nice overview of the fifty states, and it looks like it is very fun and engaging. It was originally designed for roadschooling, but can be used in a home classroom as well, as we are doing. It would be neat to include some long distance field trips this year though! You can check out an inside peek video here!

Music! I always struggle with this one, as I am the farthest from musical anyone can be. So this year I am pairing music appreciation, learning about different instruments and genres, with our literature and art program. I am also looking for music lessons for him nearby, that will take special needs children. And Jeanie at Marmalade Gypsy has told me about a program at MSU called RicStar, and I think I am going to try to get him in to their camp next summer. It looks like something Wyatt would absolutely love!

And finally, literature and art. This is separate from The Good and the Beautiful program we are using to learn the mechanics of reading and writing. This will be all literature based projects and activities, based on the readings for the week, and will include poetry, geography, history, comprehension, art, vocabulary lists, copywork and narration. I am designing this myself, so I am super nervous about it but feel I have all his bases covered with the other programs we are using so it should be ok. This will just supplement everything we are doing in a nicely complimentary way.

As for physical education, Wyatt does go to physical therapy once a week, as well as occupational therapy and speech. However, I did find swim lessons specifically for special needs children.

And since I have made my choices and started buying them all, I have also begun planning – and have some awfully fluffy assistants.

And.. that pretty much sums it all up! I can’t wait to share all of this with you when we begin in the fall!

Morning Coffee Catch Up

July is off with a bang! We had a wonderful long weekend, full of good times.

Saturday was all about Wyatt – ice cream, a picnic, and swimming with his cousin at his grandma’s house. We hit our favorite ice cream parlor, picking up the traditional black cherry for Billy and mint chocolate chip for Wyatt, and this time I went with a new one, Detroit Grand Slam. I don’t think I understand the name but it tastes good, like coffee.

We have two little water babies on our hands – or mermaids, as my little niece calls herself and Wyatt. And it is a much more whimsical description, so we will go with mermaids. Wyatt is all signed up for private swim lessons, and I can’t wait. I will feel so much more relaxed after we get some basics covered.

Sunday we went for a long drive, then chilled out at home. I think we were recovering from a long pool day, and knowing that another big day was coming on the 4th. I did release my last little black swallowtail. I only brought in five caterpillars this summer and my last one just went through it’s transformation and flew away. I hope to bring in a few more to raise later in the summer; we just have too many trips and overnights right now in the works.

But the fourth was a day to remember. A golden moment in time, honestly. A perfect day.

I haven’t seen some of my family since the pandemic started – my aunt and uncle (Barb and Mike), my two cousins (Michael and Meghan), and their families. My cousin Michael invited us all for a family party at his house on the fourth, for a cookout and some swimming, so of course the two little mermaids were excited about that as well.

We pulled up in the driveway, and tumbled into the backyard, where Mike was standing by the gate. When I saw his smiling face, I couldn’t help it, I teared up. And then my cousin Meghan came over for a hug and we were both teary and emotional. We have always been so close, all of us, and it was overwhelming to finally be with each other again. But once the quick tears dried up, the fun began!

Of course the kids hit the pool immediately. Michael and Meghan’s kids (3 boys for Mike, 2 boys for Meghan) were already in the pool, and Wyatt wanted to get in as well. Billy had a few minutes to say hi and give hugs and then boom, he was in the water with Wyatt. Pretty much for most of the day. Lol. There was also a lifeguard which was reassuring with so many kids in the pool at once – 9 total plus dads. And the rest of the day was all about sharing stories, both old and new, eating, drinking, laughing, listening to the music, and soaking up the sun (slathered in sunblock as our family will burn in a hot second). My cousin made an awesome playlist which I am sharing because it is a real mood for a summer gathering.

We finally had to say goodbye, and loaded up our weary kids into the car, tuckered out from a very full day of fun. I was also that kind of tired too, that comes from a day spent outdoors having a very full day of fun as well. Wyatt zonked out hard in the car on the way home, and didn’t even wake up when Billy carried him in to the house. The hallmark of a perfect childhood day.

What about all of you? Any stories from your weekend you want to share?