*Trust me there really is a point to this some-what long post but I needed to fill you in to the evolution and history before getting to it ;-)* When we were purchasing our first home, we didn't really have many necessities we were looking for. We kinda just went with something that had some character and had enough room for Jeremy and myself and of course the pets. We were sorta planning for the future and knew that one day we could have kids so we made sure we had a couple of bedrooms and I wanted a basement for entertaining and/or kids! When we first saw our house, it was in pretty decent shape but what really wooed us was the backyard! It was spacious and fenced in.
The yard was the selling point. And over the years, the frustrations of owning a home that was built in the '40s has at some points brought us to tears! I can say that I HATE my house. I mean, I am very thankful that we own a home and we have shelter for our family, but I really wish we could move! There are too many things that need to be fixed and just not enough money in the budget to fix them!
The yard has transformed many times in the 8 years of living here. The first year, my neighbor informed me that she and the previous owner had gardened together and that the yard had a variety of many beautiful plants and trees. To a young, career oriented woman that meant nothing to me. Actually, I recall telling Jeremy that "I WOULD NEVER" garden and I started pulling plants out that I didn't want to keep up.
The next summer, the gardening bug hit me. And HIT ME HARD! I started to research plants that were native to our area and were perennials. My dad and I tore out large amounts of shrubs and trees that were over grown and a nuisance. Let's just say, that when Jeremy went to work one morning we had several mulberry trees in our yard and when he came home there were NONE! My dad and I decided to dig them out ourselves. I started planning out more and more flower beds and purchased more and more plants. Let's just say that Jeremy wasn't amused since he just saw a lot of work involved.
For a couple of years, the backyard evolved into a beautiful landscaped oasis that I could retreat to. I did most of the up keep myself and enjoyed working the soil and bringing beauty and wildlife (birds and butterflies) into our own little piece of Earth.
Then my whole world flipped upside down! Evan arrived! And my little Eden turned into a forgotten wasteland, as my focus turned to dealing with a newborn.
My backyard deteriorated that summer and weeds took over and plants went crazy. That first summer, I had a really hard time multitasking. I admit it! Evan wasn't much for hanging outside while I worked. Saying that he would scream and cry the whole time would be an understatement. I tried, I did. But it was much easier to stay indoors and keep my little man busy doing other things.
The second summer after Evan was born, I was having Carter in July. So we all know that I was HUGE and wasn't going to be out in the heat while carrying a baby that was making my stomach measure as if I was having twins (No joke!!), and besides the heat can you see a overly pregnant woman bending over and weeding! No thank you! So once again, my once beautiful oasis became a breeding ground for weeds and overgrowth.
BUT the tides were going to turn. Last summer, my dad couldn't stand it any longer! He knew how beautiful my yard once was, and he definitely has a green thumb! He enjoys being outside making nature around us beautiful - even though he is known to complain the WHOLE time he is doing it - we know how much he truly enjoys it!
That summer, he weeded EVERYTHING, trimmed back all my plants and cleared out our overgrown woods at the end of our yard. He worked pretty much the whole summer. And boy was it beautiful again!
This summer, the boys are finally old enough to play together and not have to be watched constantly. So I was looking forward to getting back out there and enjoying my yard again. But then early in the spring, I made a realization. And really the whole point of the this post.
Most of my good friends, do not have yards that are child friendly, let a lone parent friendly. And I have both. I have a large, fenced in yard. And I have a covered porch where the parents can sit under and relax.
The first couple of times friends came over, comments were made about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful yard. So I decided to make it my mission, to keep my schedule as flexible as possible so that my friends could come over anytime they want. It kinda feels like my special way of giving back and blessing those moms in my life! And besides, having them over makes my days so MUCH EASIER! I get to have some quality time with my girl friends and the boys get to run off their built up energy with their friends!
I also have realized that the beauty that I once worked so hard on - the flowers and shrubs - pale in comparison to the beauty of friendships that were beginning to bud and blossom. The conversations and fellowship that happens in my backyard are much more a blessing then the surroundings. But the hard work of making our little plot of land beautiful, has paid off in ways that I never would have thought. Our yard is inviting to kids but also the beauty of the yard invites parents in and says "welcome, put your feet up for awhile, drink some coffee, listen to the song birds and enjoy the beauty of God's creation."
It is my little oasis that I now get to share with those special people in my life! A true blessing indeed.
Here are the views from the back porch:
And as if my backyard couldn't get any better, Backyard Discovery asked me to be an Ambassador! Which meant, I was given a beautiful cedar play set. This was my moment of realizing that maybe God did have a special plan for my backyard! It made my backyard complete.
The kids in my sons' lives now ask to go to "Evan and Carter's Park". My friends will text and ask if they can come over to "Loyd Park". I love it! And of course we love that fact that we have a restroom that isn't a porta-potty and a (usually) stocked kitchen for healthy snack times!
I also try to keep stocked with extra bubbles, bubble wands, bug catchers (because this summer the boys have decided that digging in my flower beds for insects is cool), water guns, sand toys and an extra dose of being care-free. Because kids plus plants usually equals trampled and wounded plants - HA! But that is okay. We are building lifelong memories and friendships!
So if you are in the neighborhood, stop on by, put you feet up and enjoy a cup of coffee! ;-)