Every summer our guest room (“The Penthouse”) has an overflow of guests.  We love this time of year.  And are excited for each one that calls to reserve a time.  In April I go up to check on what needs to be done to freshen the room.   

Usually it’s pretty simple.  

This year I headed up the stairs with new linens for the bed and by the time the first guests arrived I had repainted the wicker chairs, an ottoman -

a table and a bench, put up curtains,

new white towels and wash clothes,  

a couple of rugs and pillows.   

Went into the attic - 

(may I remind you, the last time I went in I was followed out by a band of bees singing “I Wanna Sting Ya”.),  

to find a net swing purchased some 20 years ago and had never been used. Thought it would make a great towel holder.  

As I sit here writing, our first group of 4 left just a few days ago.  And in a few more days
new guests arrive. I love all the fluffing and preparing to make our guests feel welcome and comfortable,  

making a list and then checking it twice to ensure nothing's forgotten. 

Ten years ago our 9 year old niece from Minnesota came to visit during the summer.  One day down at the lake we took this picture. 

Last week we went back to the same spot and updated the picture.  She is now 19 and just completed her first year of college. 

I know. . . 

She’s taller than me. 

When she was here 10 years ago on a rainy day she wanted to do a creative project.  Something with paint.  I went out to the garage and found a small white chair that had sat in my mothers’ kitchen when I was growing up.  Along with that chair I brought in a white utility ladder. And the creativity began. 

After most of the family left for home last Monday we headed to Seaside with our niece
(who stayed on for an extra 5 days) for days of beach strolling, making sand art, walking barefoot on the beach trying not to step on the jelly fish that the waves had randomly placed all over the sand.  

And eating gelato at the local gelateria made fresh daily by the owners.  Just in case you’re wondering??  Marionberry with chocolate shavings is my new fave.  Wasn’t even tempted to order the chocolate.  Even after sampling it.  I know. . . With the name “Chocolate Girl” Marionberry should not have even been an option.
Car naps -  

and treasured conversations tucked in amongst all the busyness. 

Conversations sharing stories, dreams, with lots of giggling mixed in between.  It’s in these quiet conversations that we get a glimpse into parts of each other we hadn’t seen before. 

and then followed by the hardest part of these visits -

saying goodbye. . . 

one hug. . . 

then two. . . 

then - 

one more.