The Lake House

In less than six weeks, our Merkles will be home from England, and they’ll be living with us as they have the past two summers. So when summer rolls around, I come to think of my house as the Lake House, minus the lake. All the other kids and cousins come over so they can play together, and it’s just like being at the lake with no beach, no water, and no boat. A bit of a drawback, I agree, but it helps if I adopt a laid-back attitude, just as though we were at the lake. In other words, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. Sort of like summer camp with s’mores and hot dogs on a stick.

Back when our kids were school-aged, summer meant that I  needed to come up with some kind of structure and schedule, not as rigorous as a school schedule, but something flexible enough to keep everyone busy, happy, and productive but not over-worked or over-committed. I banned word bored, but if anyone ever said it, that meant an automatic extra job. It always took a week or two for everyone to settle into the summer groove, but if I had prepared myself with a plan, the transition always went smoother.

A lot of our summer activities revolved around reading. One of my friends started a reading group for some of the neighborhood kids, and one morning a week she showed up with treats,  gathered the kids on a blanket in the yard, and read aloud to them. (One of the titles I recall was The Black Arrow.) Of course we  made many trips to the library. And I have to mention here, just so you will think I am from the dark ages, that the only way to see a movie (waaaaay back then) was to go to a theater. So a movie was seldom a family activity, until we purchased our very own vcr. What a big thrill that was!

My son has challenged his oldest (who will be in second grade in the fall) to read through a stack of books this summer, with prizes to award according to the number of books he gets through. But he’s an outdoor boy, busy with the serious business of playing in the back yard, so the reading will probably be at night or on the rainy days. Our kids spent many an hour in, up, and under the pine trees in our back yard, as well as sitting on our back porch while Doug read the Lord of the Rings aloud on summer nights.

The cousin action has already kicked in this summer at my Lake House with the big kids playing versions of tag and chase while the toddlers toddle and stumble about, taking notes for next summer. When all thirteen grandkids are  on the premises, I expect grand things to result. Lots of story material in the making. Meanwhile, I’m getting the Lake House stocked with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars.

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8 thoughts on “The Lake House

  1. Nancy, you make your summer sound like it will be so much fun!! Enjoy having all of your little ones around — I know you will.


  2. I like the reading list idea. In fact, I told my kids that this summer, I’m going to make them a “Summer Reading List” and if they finish it, they will get something special (yet to be determined). This has been a very event-filled year for us and the goal was to just get through school. The extra reading time kind of suffered as a result of two moves and beginning restoration on an old home. Anyway, I am looking forward to restoring our love of reading this summer!

  3. This was fun! I love the idea of a reading group on a blanket in the yard. And we have given our kids summer reading lists for years, just as my husband and I had at the private school we both attended. As for s’mores, well, bon fires are usually illegal where we are, so we just roast mashsmallows over the BBQ!

  4. A good reminder to think productively about the time (times) God has given us. We’ve been praying with our school aged child that she will be renewed during the summer and she’s been praying that we will use this time to God’s glory. A good balance!
    We also outlawed the word “bored” in our home years ago. I explained to the children that it conveyed an expectation that the world existed to amuse them. Thankfully, they have all become creative, energetic folks (4 adults, 1 adolescent) who bless others with their creativity and love.

  5. I remember the banning of “bored” in our house too. A good rule to continue.

    Also, just for fun, try adding a little peanut butter to the s’mores. You only THOUGHT they couldn’t be improved upon!

  6. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, and don’t forget to set up the diet pepsi and mentos experiment some evening. Always a hit! (You can check it out on UTube)

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