Summer At Home

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*Author’s Note: this post was originally published in 2014. It’s been updated with new images and links, and I’ve added some bits and pieces to the story. I hope you enjoy it. 

If I had to pick a favorite season, and it would be very hard, I’d have to choose summer. When I had a growing family, summer was our time to be together. No schedules, no school, and no homework. I absolutely loved it. I was always so ready for the last day of school, and so NOT ready for school to start in the fall.

When both of my kids were in grade school, I was blessed to find a job in our school system with a schedule that revolved around them…so when they were home, I was too. Looking back on the summers in my past, I can honestly say that they were the best times of my life.

lantana in summer planter

The Growing Years

Every summer when my kids were young, we spent long days at the pool. We ate fresh fruit, corn on the cob, and grilled hotdogs. There were bike rides, and trips to the park to swing. Sweet days that, looking back, were some of the best in my life. I wish I would have realized that at the time. I wish I would have taken more pictures, and let my kids stay up late. Other than that, I have no regrets. They came first, and I am very grateful I was able to spend every summer with them.

blue ticking pillow on tufted chair

As my kids grew, so did their interests, and our summers became busy. My son was a golfer, so we traveled to just about every golf course in Northwest Ohio. I learned the importance of keeping your head down, and filling in your divots. My daughter was a dancer, and I learned that dancers are athletes at heart. I learned how to set a pony tail with sponge rollers so it curled beautifully, and I never missed a competition.

I spent a lot of time in my car…but it was the perfect time to talk to my kids, so I never minded. Some of our best conversations happened in the car. Together with my husband, the four of us discovered Niagara Falls, the mountains of Colorado, and the beaches at Hilton Head. We spent relaxing Sunday afternoons with my parents, and ate a lot of ice cream.

Off To College

Then one summer things changed. I found myself shopping for dorm decor, and stocking up on shampoo. I bought a futon when I wasn’t even sure what it was. I packed up my daughter, and even though it was nearly impossible, left her standing in the parking lot outside of her college dorm. To this day I can still see her there, waving at us as we drove away. That was the beginning of a different sort of life for my family.


After that, summers were never the same, and they flew by in a blur. Four years later, I was moving my daughter into an apartment, and moving my son into a dorm room. Summer days were no longer filled with activity and places to go. They were filled with gardening, reading, and DIY projects around the house. I discovered slow living, and suddenly had time for all the projects I had been putting off. I had time to sit on my porch, and remember summers past.

neutral living room ideas with set of tufted chairs

The Empty Nest

It was during one very hot summer a year or so after my son graduated from college that I came to the painful realization that I was alone. I had my husband, my parents, and my friends…but my kids now had lives of their own. They had moved away, and even though I was very proud of their success, all I wanted to do was turn back time.

Moving On

I also realized that I wasn’t in the best of shape, physically or mentally. It was time to take control, and figure out how to carry on with this new way of life. I had to find a way to regain my health, and accept my situation as it was. I was not, and never will be, a gracious empty nester. But figure it out I did, and life went on.

Which brings me to where I am now…writing this in my office, in our downsized home, on a perfect Ohio summer day. Along with my story, I’ve included pictures of our home with touches of summer. Our little patio, our front porch, and our living room. Sunlight streaming though the windows, light accessories, and bright fabrics. Bringing summer into your home is as easy as buying fresh flowers or a watermelon at the grocery store. These touches of summer are important because they are small ways to remind us that it’s a short season…and that we must enjoy it while it’s here.

navy blue kitchen island with flowers in sink

The summers in my life have taught me a great deal. Some lessons have been easier to learn than others…but they all have put me where I am today. Blessed with a home I love, and a family who loves me. I don’t see how I could possibly ask for more.

Thank you for stopping by, and for making it possible for me to spend all my summers at home.


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  1. Marcia Fisher says:

    Oh Ann, I, too, like many of your readers teared up reading this one. Those of us who are now empty nesters navigating our way can relate. Thank you for sharing
    those memories and also for this adorable blog. Its a real inspiration for me.

  2. Sharon Smith says:

    OMGosh! I teared up reading this one. This story could be my story also, except we are a big soccer family…! How blessed we have both been to have had a season to enjoy our children and when empty nesters, we are finding true contentment.

  3. What a wonderful heart felt post. It almost mimics my own life and those sweet summers from childhood thru grandchildren and still going. Memories sometimes get me down and often too nostalgic but I am trying so hard to remember all the good memories instead. Even at 61 yrs I am still making beautiful memories with my family and still figuring out Who I Am.

    1. Dear Ann ….. your story has touched my heart I to went through the same I have many Blessings I was a stay at home mother for the first 10 years of my daughters
      Understand all you have said and have times I get down because I live states away and with there lives I dont see much of them….Your story hit home for me
      I have many things to keep me busy as well your Emails are one
      Thank You for sharing

  4. Jeanie Nichols says:

    Life goes by so fast, it’s almost like those early years with our children didn’t happen. We are now watching the years fly by once again watching our grandchildren grow up and it is happening so fast. We must cherish each day that God has blessed us with and make the most of each minute. Thanks for sharing your memories and have a blessed rest of the summer.

  5. Thank you so much for a beautiful heartfelt post that reflected my life perfectly. I, too, love summer!!

  6. Annmarie W says:

    Thank you Ann for sharing. I had tears in my eyes as I was reading this Like you I got a job with the school so I could have the same schedule as my son and daughter. Summers off and fun to be had. They both just got married, 24 months apart in age and in marriage, (both engaged at 22 and married at 23). I find I’m looking to those projects and hobbies I always wanted to do. Thank you for your beautiful posts. You definitely have given me much inspiration 💗 Annmarie W

  7. Even though I have read your story many times I think your children had the best you could offer them. It was your time. They are better adults for it. Anne, you have alot to be grateful for which I know you are. Thank you sharing your story🥰

  8. Oh my goodness. This blog post IS my story, also. Like you, I feel very blessed with the life I live.

  9. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, thank you, so much, for sharing your heart and your summers with us today. You wrote such a lovely post and I just loved reading it and looking at your beautiful pictures. Your home is so beautiful with all your special touches. You are so gifted! Bless you for being so special, Ann!

  10. Christine says:

    I can relate to everything you write about and have many memories with my sons from past summers. Now we do some of the same activities with our three grandchildren.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  11. Thank you Ann and all of the comments for this post. I too am not a good empty nester. Maybe in time. I think grandkids would help. There is solace in knowing it’s not just me being too sentimental!
    Your house is lovely. I can’t wait to try the watermelon salad!

  12. I felt like you were writing my story. I wish I could have told my young self to soak it all in because it was going to end. I thank God for the time I had, but he didn’t intend me to stay there forever…still it was good. I can smell and taste
    summer with the kids. Now I have the task to take the time I have now and make it count. I love reading your blog. God bless you

  13. What a special message! Thank you for sharing!! I am in the same place as you. It is both nice and unreal at the same time!

  14. This was so beautifully written and resonated with me.

  15. Awww what a sweet post. I feel like I could have written it. I was home for 12 years with our 4 kids, then went to work for the school district also. I loved time with the kids in the summer. I really struggled at first being an empty nester; now I enjoy it and the grandkids nearby keep us busy. Time for the two of us in our golden years. 🤗 Also time to catch up on 40 years of projects!!

  16. Your precious summer memories remind me of mine when my girls were young. My husband and I were both teachers so our summers were filled with togetherness. We visited our parents in other states each year and loved the time of being four, 24/7. I have “moments” now and then when we don’t see the kids for long periods. Text messages and video calls make such a difference! I often wonder how our parents survived the distance before cell phones! Thank you for sharing; it brought my own memories back once again and made me grateful for the wonderful times when we were all young.

  17. So heart warming, as I remember these days as well. Thank you for sharing 🌺

  18. Well said and thanks, I also am so blessed

  19. Loved your story, my oldest goes to college in a few weeks. Although I realize everything is changing, it’s hard to comprehend this milestone in our lives.

  20. I love your white outdoor table and chairs and would like a white set but wonder how much work it is to keep it clean. Do you find it a lot of work?

  21. We all feel that story as our lives change, and so do summers. We are on the precipice of selling the family home and moving to something smaller. It is good to know life can still be just as good and there is plenty to look forward to.

  22. Thank you for sharing a story that I’m sure every parent can relate. We are getting too close (for me anyway) to being empty nesters. Your story helps me to see that there is a life out there past our kids, and it can be whatever we want to make it.

  23. My coffee and a visit with you-great way to start my morning.
    Thank you

  24. Susan McKim says:

    Yes, summers remind us of days gone by and the memories they hold. I’m no longer a summer girl but , wish at times, I still could be. Thank you for sharing your summers with us.

  25. I love your warm hearted story. We are empty nesters too and it was not a good time to realize it. Bought too much food the first time…
    Now we love that we can do what we want whenever we want. Everytime the kids have visited us and are gone I say to my husband: now we can dance naked on the countertop again :-)
    We never did nor will we do.
    I am always happy when they are at home with us but I enjoy being alone with my husband as well. But it was a long way to that feeling.

  26. Sweet, heartfelt story. Thank you for sharing your life. ❤️

  27. Thanks for sharing your story. Time keeps moving along; we can enjoy these sweet memories and at the same time savor each precious day.

  28. Karen Ewing says:

    Ann… my boys have been out of the house almost 20 years and I am still NOT a gracious empty nester !! I long for all those days .. even sending and delivering care packages to college ! Now I have grandchildren 12,13 and 14 and mourn them being little and excited to see me ! Now I am just a ticket to LuLuLemon or the golf club! So enjoy your little ones when they come soon! I enjoy everything you write and so relate to all of it … including a move ! Karen in Columbus

  29. Wow, reading this made me tear up a bit! So many beautiful memories that were my summers also. Thanks for putting into words what many of us were gifted when our children were young.

  30. Wow! Loved your Summer Story…I’m sure it brings a tear to any mom’s eye. Thank you for sharing and bringing us along this summer. All the best😊❤️

  31. Thank you Ann
    This was spot on … and so lovely to read…I have made your recipes and am a lover of blue and white …Thank you ! You remind us to seek joy !

  32. A wonderful post. We are a bit older than you, have just one daughter, but I can relate. My husband was transferred from our hometown 30 years ago. It was difficult to leave my job of almost 20 years that I loved. We built a new home in our new city, my parents moved to be closer, and my brother also was transferred to our city. It’s not home, never will be, but we live a good life. After losing both of my parents, and my husband retired, the plan was to move back home to be close to friends and family. But, our daughter became established here in her career, then she married and now has two beautiful little daughters. Our lives revolve around those little girls, as we took care of them from the day they came home from the hospital. Our daughter now works primarily out of her home and we visited 2 days a week to help out with home schooling during the pandemic, and housework. Now that the threat of the pandemic has receded, this fall they are going back to their private school. What will we do?? We have made a pact to make sure we do something fun every week. It might be an overnight trip to visit the winery area, meet old friends by driving to a city in between our home and theirs for lunch, visiting various farmer’s markets, antique shops, taking our roadster out for a spin to a local restaurant/brewery that we love. I spend a lot of time on our home decor, meal planning and cooking, etc. Our health and fitness are very important to us. I keep looking forward, and try not to think about getting older. I love On Sutton Place, great job!

  33. Nancy Kelley says:

    What a wonderful essay in the seasons of life, Ann! Thank you for sharing the bittersweet feeling of the passing of time especially watching our children grow! I live in Northeast Ohio and can definitely relate to your fun summer experiences. I always enjoy your blog, but this post especially resonated with me.

  34. Loved this heartfelt post. I can so relate as I’ve been an empty nester for years. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Hi Ann, Beautiful then, beautiful now. Your posts, ideas and creative touches are timeless.

  36. Ann I can relate to not being “a gracious empty nester”! My son, and only child, moved from Long Island to California a year and a half ago. I still miss having him nearby but I’m so proud of the adult he has become. I pray for him daily and for his fellow police officers and firefighters. Thank you for your heartfelt posts.

  37. Beautiful, touching and all too true. Sweet post.

  38. A lovely, poignant post, Ann. I don’t remember summers when my two daughters were young with quite the same nostalgia as you do as I was struggling with depression much of that time and felt overwhelmed often. But there were some happy times, too. Also, I have always been a person who needs and is comfortable with a lot of alone time. So now that the children are grown and I’m divorced I have been quite happy being on my own…until…my youngest daughter and her twin boys separated from their father and moved–you guessed it! in with me! What a shock to my system it has been! After two-plus years I am finally adjusting, but it has been rough! Boys–they are SO NOISY!! And they RUN everywhere! But I love them dearly and do appreciate being such a big part of their lives. I always say that this isn’t the way I’d planned to spend my “golden years”, but life doesn’t always go the way we plan, does it? And there are positive aspects, too. Like help with the bills being not the least.

    I’ve gone on longer than I meant to, but I guess the point is that we adjust, focus on the positive elements in our lives and learn to be happy despite things not being exactly as we’d planned. Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be the end of happiness.

    I hope you have a happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for sharing your tho’ts about Summer and home and change.

  39. Oh, my … I’m wiping away tears here! I am suddenly an empty nester and I’m floundering, trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. I find myself aimlessly wandering around my hourse, thinking I should do this and I should do that, but just don’t have the energy or interest to actually carry through. My daughter, my only child, lives four hours away, and I lost my mum in November, and for the first time since forever, I find myself truly alone. I have to say I’m not a fan! *sigh*
    But enough whining! I have been following your blog for a while now and have to say I just love it! Your style is delightful, very natural and unpretentious, and I always find myself smiling as I read. Thank you, Ann, for sharing your heart of gold.
    Wishing you a peaceful and happy summer. :)

  40. Oh the wonderful memories,thank you for your honesty & sharing your home with us, Here’s to days of sunshine 🌞🌻

  41. This is beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes.I have the same feelings, we must be somehow related ! My children and grandchildren are my heart.Still trying to find my new normal after moving 1200 miles away from them.I love your honesty and your home.I wish you a happy Mother’s Day surrounded by love.

  42. I wrote you a long comment and it disappeared. This time around – just thank you for always being honest, creative, and a good friend via the computer!

  43. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    What a sweet story, thank you for sharing. I have just retired (again) and look forward to being home and finishing so many projects. I am 68 years old and feel content with my decision to do what I want to do…when I want to….and how I want to! I live in a very small town and summers are long and hot here so there will be lots of time spent with my precious 3 year old grandson and I have learned to cherish time with him. I love to travel and feel blessed that I am able to go where I choose. Your post has such warmth and has given me a chance to reflect on my own past. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your beautiful children.

  44. I always enjoyed summer also when my kids were young. It was a very relaxing time. But now summer weather means I have to stay indoor a lot because the heat and especially the humidity hamper my breathing. I am truly thankful for air conditioning! It’s still a relaxing time when the family has more spare time to visit.
    I read about your empty nest time. That was a very difficult season for me too. Now I’m going through my grandchildren becoming adults. That is hard too. Two of mine have graduated from college and one is headed to China to teach English! I know I want them to become healthy adults but I sure miss all the fun from when they were little.

  45. I love this post❤️❤️❤️‼️‼️‼️

  46. Beautifully written. I enjoyed the past summers of my life filled with many baseball games from t-ball to Division 1 games. On our 25th anniversary, my husband and I literally watched the cows come home while watching our son play a college team in Tennessee. Even now as retirees, we are at our grandsons’ baseball games, loving every minute. Enjoy a lovely Mothers’ Day tomorrow.

  47. Just like Ann’s story, I am relishing one final Summer with my sweet daughter before she goes off to college. I, too, have a son that will reach college-age in four years before I become a true empty-nester. Thank you Ann, for waking me up to the importance of shunning busy-ness; and reminding me of the urgency of making every moment count this particular Summer Season!!

  48. Lisa Palmese says:

    What a Gorgeous Home. Full of Collections and Design.
    I Just Loved it!!
    Thank You

  49. I’m late in reading this post of yours…but am glad I’m able to read this slowly. I do miss my summers with my kids too…seems just like yesterday. Our youngest just moved out 3 weeks ago…and I’m still adjusting a tad. Your home looks lovely…we are trying to put ours back together…after he moved out, and we had a garage sale. There’s so much room! This is just a different time in life for us…and I think it might take a little getting used to…we had kids at home for 31 years! So feel free Ann, to make suggestions! ;)

  50. Hi Ann! I’m so happy to find your blog! I love your home! Very nice! I’m a reluctant empty nester too – and just like you, I’m finding that I have time to do other things (but I’d give anything to go back to the days when the children were home). I’ll definitely be checking back – I’m already looking forward to your next post!

  51. Kellyann Fleming says:

    Summer as a child was awesome for me and my 5 siblings.We spent every sunny day down the pool.Swimming was the greatest and famiky time never ending with my Mother cooking an entire dinner on a tabletop charcoal we even made lifetime friends that thanks to facebook we sre able to keep in touch with.Losing my Father last summer has made us all talk about those summers that thanks to love and hard work allowed us that luxury. My own kids have had better vacations like Disney but I feel I have had better summers to remember,and for that I am blessed.Like you my husband and I have tried hard to make those summer memories they too with remember.My oldest gets married this September embarking on her own journey and although I sm excited at the prospect of becoming a grandmother in the near future I am also blessed with also having a7 year old that makes this 48 year old reminiscing and reoeating summer day trips that her 26 and 21 year old sisters have been able to do. So on that note I still have busy summers and look forward to them but also look forward to the slower days of sitting out front with a cup of coffee and enjoying the summer breeze …..maybe by the time I am 60.Until than I wait for my favorite season which is Autumn .The scents , the coolness and the gorgeous colors .Thank you for your story.

  52. Jennifer @ Town and Country Living says:

    Gorgeous home tour, Ann! I’m with you … summer is my favorite season!

  53. Silvina from Tazas y Cuentos says:

    I really enjoyed your post. Very nice words and fantastic photos. You make me think a lot.
    Thank you for being so honest and sharing your feelings in such an inspirating way.

  54. This post wasn’t what I was expecting when I saw your title…but it couldn’t have been more perfect….We are empty-nesters~caught by surprise, I think….I assumed that when our children left for college, they would be home for breaks and then for summers….except that’s not quite the way it happened! Both children have studied abroad (twice each actually), fall and spring break mission trips, summer internships and now summer job in a city 3 hours away and of course, one got married in June so she is definitely NOT coming back! LOL…….it’s a busy life and yes I have had to learn to fill my time with new and exciting things while still working at my career. I love reading your blog and always feel like you are right next door….thank you for pouring your heart into your blog. I appreciate it very much!

  55. Kelly - Talk of the House says:

    Your story so pulls at my heartstrings. As a mom of 2 kids in their twenties and a 19 year old baby in college I can so relate. But my kids keep coming back home to live…two for the summers and one until he can find a new job. But on to your home. It is simply beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your home. I am very partial to wicker, and color, and traditional. So it is nice to see that in another home these days! :)
    Happy Friday and happy summer to you!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Happy Summer to you too Kelly…and thank you for your comment. I’m always glad to know there are other traditional lovers still out there!

  56. Barbara Bertke says:

    Dear Ann,
    I swear we are long lost sisters. Your posts mean so much to me. I will never ever get used to my kids being gone. It started with college, but at least they came home for breaks. Now they have jobs out of state, and we try to see them as much as possible. I will say, it got even worse when I became a Grandma. That little guy means the world to me. I have learned to make the most of our visits, and cherish all the memories. I hope you have a wonderful summer, and enjoy those kids when you can.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh Barbie it stinks doesn’t it? I am actually coping better these days than I was a few years ago. I think time and keeping busy helps. Enjoy your summer!

  57. Michele/Finch Rest says:

    Ah Ann, ya made me cry.

    Well written, ma’am – from one empty nester to another, Oh the years fly by entirely too fast, do they not?

    Your home is fresh and perfectly represents summer. Your porch is absolutely award winning.

  58. Your post made me kind of sad, as I have been struggling with my empty nest as well. It really is a huge change! Even though I’m 50 and have been blessed with three great kids and three(soon to be 4) grandkids- I still find myself wondering what I am supposed to be doing now. I ramble around my house and I fluff and rearrange- but it doesn’t make me as happy as it once did. I just keep going and I know that soon things will be easier!

  59. Liz @ Infuse With Liz says:

    That was beautiful said. It’s like reading about myself- especially about the kids, cars, college. Still brings a tear to the eye. I’ve been sorting my head out for a while. It took some time but the reality of being alone sinks in and forces you to think of a new way to be. Hugs, Liz

    1. I agree! I’m still figuring things out too!

  60. Great story and photos. I love the bag draped on the stairway. Did you make it and sell them by any chance?

  61. Dori Troutman says:

    Dear Ann,

    I think I would have to say this is probably my favorite post you’ve ever written (think possibly I’ve said that before!). I almost cried. I read it three times and looked and looked at your pictures. I think I could very easily live in your home! :-) I love that you posted a picture of yourself – it is beautiful. Thank you, Ann. Hugs – Dori – P.S. And that purse hanging on the stair newell??? WOW!!!!

  62. Kimberly ~ SerendipityRefined says:

    Oh Ann…as the mom of a recent college grad and one about to enter sophomore year of college, I CAN RELATE! No one warned me how quickly it would go or how quiet (and clean) my life would become…which is why I now have an adopted yellow lab and am rehabbing my house. Your home is beautiful with its touches of yellow and navy (my favorites for the season) and your beautiful peonies! I wish that I were there to have a cold glass of lemonade with you! xo, Kimberly

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I got a dog too! I told my kids she was my third child and would NEVER grow up and leave me. lol. Enjoy your house projects…you are smart to keep busy. I think that’s the secret to coping!

  63. I’m not where you are because our 27 year old son lives with us but I know what you mean about the fun with your kids. I always had fun with my kids and never wanted to go on vacation without them. It’s bittersweet remembering….. but now i have the grandkids and it is amazing how wonderful they are. Just wait!

  64. Shayna @ The Wood Grain Cottage says:

    Absolutely beautiful! You have such a pretty home! :)

  65. Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule says:

    Beautiful story Ann! I think I will probably be much like you! My son has 2 more years of high school left and we will be empty nesters too. So hard to believe…where did the time go??
    I love your home…every detail, just lovely!

    1. Yes. Where did the time go?

  66. I’m with you…. I will not be a gracious empty nester. Sure it gives time to do things that were put off, but nothing is better than those days of a full home.

  67. Beautiful post about summer! Here in Ontario, the climate is much the same. Today is a wondrous, ideal summer day after a couple of stormy, humid days.
    Your photos are a colourful glimpse of the season! :)

  68. Anita from Cedar Hill Farmhouse says:

    Awww, sweet memories. Loved your story. My kids are 18 and 20. The youngest will be staying at home during college, since it is nearby, and the other one with a disability may be with us forever. Loved the beautiful photos of your home.

  69. Patricia Harbison says:

    Hello Ann,

    I have never posted a comment on any blog until now. I have tears in my eyes as I am reading your post. I have four grown children and have experienced summers at the pool, soccer fields and baseball games. Oh how I miss those summer’s. Thank you for the memories.

    Patti in PA

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment…you are welcome here any time Patricia! I’ve heard from so many women who feel like I do and it really does make me feel less alone and sorry for myself! I’m glad you stopped by…Ann

  70. Hi Ann, I am soooo in love with your porch. Loved the reveal post and when I got to that picture in today’s post I just stopped and sighed. It’s perfect. Great job! Hope you have a wonderful day. It’s just proof that we may have to be alone, but we can sit and be depressed accomplishing nothing and helping nobody, or we can get up and share what we know and can do with others and inspire and encourage. You help make the world a better place for us. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you Terri…for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. I agree…feeling sorry for yourself is not a good thing. Hope you are having a lovely summer!

  71. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    What a lovely post, Ann, and one I can relate to very well.

  72. Just wonderful, Ann. Your story touched my heart and your home is inspirational. Thank you for sharing x

  73. Lori Swearingen says:

    Ann, your home is lovely and looks so fresh and bright. Thank you for sharing your stories about your summers with your children. As I was packing my preschoolers lunch for tomorrow…thinking how tired I am. I stopped to take a quick break. I pulled up your blog, and started reading this post. I have to say it was a nice reminder for me! I have two boys ages 4 1/2 and 10. We are 3 weeks into summer vacation and I’m really trying hard to be “present” and enjoy this time with them. I’m trying to ignore the piles of laundry, the little messes and just enjoy this slower pace for awhile. I love your blog, it’s quickly become one of my favorites. I really appreciate your honesty and hearing about your stories. Thank you for sharing! Lori Swearingen

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I know the phase you are in is tiring…there were many, many days that I wanted one of those Calgon take me away baths! Like you said, just take the time to pause. That’s the most important thing. Thanks for your nice comment!

  74. Oh Ann, thank you so much for sharing your stunning home and your inspiring story. What great summer memories and you have to opportunity to build on the summer memories. Thank you for joining the tour. ~Jeanette

  75. Ann, I remember when my younger son, who is now 36 and has his own family, told me he wanted to live with some friends while going to college. I wasn’t ready for him to leave and he told me how long did I think he would live at home. Well, really forever, but I couldn’t tell him that :( If I could make it happen I would have both my sons and their families live with me. You know, like Southfork on Dallas. They could have their own separate living quarters, but I would see the grandkids every day and we could all be together. We now have 5 grandchildren, 3 boys and 2 girls, youngest granddaughter was just born June 11th. I do miss the days when my boys were young, but I am truly enjoying the grandkids! It’s like a second chance to do everything all over again.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh I laughed at your Southfork idea. Actually wouldn’t that be great? Enjoy those grandchildren…I don’t have any yet but from what I hear they are a blast!

      1. What’s really funny is that when my boys were around 6 to 8 years old, my younger son would call his father “big daddy”. I guess it was his way of differentiating between his dad and his brother (his name is Danny) whom he would call “little Danny”. I would imitate him with a southern accent, but I don’t think he got the joke.

        Believe me I waited quite awhile for my grandkids, but it was worth the wait. As the saying goes,”If I had known grandkids were so much fun, I would have had them first!”

  76. This was such a touching post, Ann. I just was reflecting on the fact that my son will be leaving for college in three short years, so I was glued to your every word. I sometimes don’t know how I’ll face it – one child, and in a blink, he will be moving on. Your “summer” home looks so lovely!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      You will be just fine…remember that you did your job well and enjoy some “me” time. That’s the hardest thing. Not always having to put someone else before you. Enjoy the next 3 years with your son!

  77. Karen On Bainbridge Island says:

    Well, now. I really enjoyed this post. Such thoughtful comments about summers with your family…and how things change, evolve and we move forward. A lovely read.

  78. Ann, I love your home and your sweet spirit.
    I too am an empty nester, and have found myself with weight gain as well. What is a reasonable goal as far as calorie consumption starting out? I think I could do just what you did, but need a goal with the calorie intake for each day.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh Lauren that is such a good question. When I started counting calories I had no idea what I was doing. Gradually I became familiar with the calorie counts of my favorite foods and started making better choices. My goal when I was in a serious mode was always 1000 calories a day. Rarely did I make it though because that’s just not very many. If you shoot for 1200 – 1400 per day you will see better success. Look for low calorie foods so you can eat more. Watch your fruit because it has more calories than you would think. Don’t be in a hurry because at our age it takes more time. Good luck!

  79. I just discovered your blog a few days ago and I throughly enjoy it. I have found all your ideas so inspiring. We are alike in many ways – I too live in Ohio and I am also an empty nester, or at least I was! Summer at our house means visits from the grandchildren so activity around here picks up quite a bit. I teach second grade, so much of my year is very busy with my classroom, my 27 students and teaching, but summer is always a more peaceful time – a time to reflect on my life and what is most important. Your blog has reminded me how very important it is to keep a beautiful home – a stress free oasis to return to each day. With the help of my husband and inspiration from you, we have already started several projects – the first is fixing up our porch and deck. Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas and your beautiful home.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I totally agree about keeping your home stress-free and I’m glad you have some projects planned. Have a great summer with the grandkids and thank you for your comment!

  80. Marsha Cannon says:

    Well, we are almost exactly in the same place! My baby is a senior in college this year and my middle is off to Africa tomorrow to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, eldest is in town and working and getting a master’s so don’t see much of him! I am doing lots of things I enjoy but I too wish that I could go back and enjoy one more day of going to the pool, park, zoo or whatever! Loved this post!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I’ve often said that if I could go back and have just one more day at the pool, one more family dinner, one more road trip that it would be amazing. Since that’s not going to happen we have no choice but to live today the best we can. Thank you for your comment!

  81. Cathy Farmer says:

    This post really touched my heart I have experienced some of these same things. I also wish I had known to slow down and really realize these were some of the happiest moments of my life. My children have all left the nest and have families now.

  82. What a beautiful post, Ann! This brought back so many memories of raising my kids and our summer breaks. Now, they are off to college; but, they are here for the summer. However, our Summers have changed, as they are all grown up now; and their interests have changed. Loved the photos of your home. The pictures are beautiful.

  83. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    I am so happy to see some of your beautiful home… and you, Ann! I can almost feel your heart and emotion in your summer story! Once we have children we are never the same, are we? I think they have our hearts our whole life. I’m so glad you have found blogging and give so much to us and pour you life into this creative outlet!

    If you every feel lonely, I am a car drive away… we could sit on the back porch and talk for days!!!! I really would love you to come!!!

  84. Ana Maria says:

    What a lovely post! Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. Many of us are going through similar situations. But wait! ….. Do you have grandchildren yet? Hang on tight, for when they arrive, the best ride in the rollercoaster of life comes with them!

    PS. I ordered the grout cleaner and sealer through the company’s website and they arrived yesterday. I can’t wait to try them! Your tiles, your kitchen and your entire home are beautiful. I’ll let you know how the products work on my own white tile countertop.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes please let me know how your grout turns out. Thanks for letting me know and for your comment!

  85. This was so lovely to read, Ann. The changes in our lives will happen, whether we want them to or not. I have 4 grandchildren, and the youngest is 2 1/2. I try to sprinkle “fairy dust” on him to keep him little, but it isn’t working. I love seeing your house ready for summer. It looks fresh, inviting, and beautiful. I “summarized” ours yesterday; it was rainy and perfect for humming around the house changing things out.

  86. Marty Walden says:

    Awww. So sweet. I completely understand! I now have two married and two still at home. I have been a stay at home mom for most of the last 25 years and have homeschooled for 20. Yet, the years seems to have flown by. I have three more years of homeschooling and this one was my hardest, but we are together, figuring it out as we go. Blogging has kept me from focusing on the future empty nest, and something tells me these last two will be sticking around a while.

    Your home is beautiful and your memories even more so. Thanks for sharing.

  87. I really enjoyed reading your reflections of summers with your kids. After being a SAHM through most of my 2 kids’ lives, I dreaded the day my fledglings would spread their wings & fly. I never expected to survive each step of their independence, but have come to realize that my anticipation & worry was my way of preparing for our separation. On the other hand, my husband didn’t allow himself to think about their leaving until the day of departure, & by then I was able to cope. I certainly didn’t want our kids to know how much I dreaded their leaving or worried about them, & always tried to put on a brave face when we parted for weeks or months. Even though I tried to keep busy & get involved in my own projects & work, I still loved doing their laundry when they came home & buying things for their dorms or apartments. It was hard to find a way to feel “needed”, especially after they graduated, married, & settled hours away. Now I’ve come to appreciate having more independence & free time, & realize that while our relationships have changed, we always look forward to time together—reminiscing & making new memories. And like you, I have no regrets. We may have had more material possessions had I worked outside the home, but I wouldn’t trade “things” for those years. My life’s greatest achievement was helping 2 kids develop into responsible & respectful young adults.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you so much for writing this PJ! You said it all perfectly. I have always said that my kids were my life’s work. I never tried so hard to do something well! I agree that time makes things better and like you, I so enjoy the time I have now to pursue things that I never had time for before. Life is good isn’t it?

      1. Yes, life is good! Changes are inevitable, but one should never base happiness on circumstances. Even in the worst of times, there’s so much to be thankful for.

        We’ve experienced several ups & downs this past year, mostly with health of family members—with the definite PLUS being the birth of our first grandchild! (He’s been “staycationing” at Grammy & Poppy’s the past week–& at the moment helping me type!) Our little guy looks like a blend of both of our kids, so it’s almost like reliving the days when they were little–except more fun, less work! ;-) P.S. I really enjoy your reflections & photos! :-)

  88. Your home is gorgeous and my eyes are filled with tears. My youngest 2 just finished their freshman year at college (yes, twins) and they are home now but one will be moving into an apartment this fall. Empty nest I do not like, your summers sound just like mine, I loved it and they were just the best. I am sitting here anxiously awaiting very important health news on a loved one so my emotions are very high. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I hope everything is OK!

  89. What a wonderful and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing these feelings with us~

  90. Lovely post Ann, I really enjoy reading your blog and I value your decorating taste, your recipes and your take on life. thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  91. Hi Ann,
    I love this post and can relate to so much of what you shared. Your home is so lovely and you have so many items that really touch my heart too. By the way, your pictures are outstanding. We’re having lots of rain and flooding near Canton. Hope it missed you. Enjoy your Summer. Peggy

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes the bad weather missed us yesterday. Just wondering if you ever watch the ABC news from Youngstown? My brother is the anchor…Stan Boney. Thanks for your comment!

  92. Ann what beautiful post of your summers past and present. Your home is always impeccable and your never miss a thing.


  93. Sonya ~At Home with The Barkers says:

    EVERY ROOM is gorgeous Ann! Love your home so much ~Sonya

  94. I want to leave a long comment but I’m sniffling too much! Ann this was truly such a beautifully written post and it really hit home with me. More than anything I think what meant a lot was hearing about your transition from one phase of motherhood to the next and that is so important for those of us who are little further behind on the journey. Thank you for sharing from your heart today!
    Love you friend,

  95. I love your blog! We moved into a new house 3 summers ago that reminds me of your house….I’m at that very busy stage of raising our 2 boys and teaching full time so I haven’t been able to do much decorating…your blog post made me realize that I’ll have plenty of time for the decorating and updating of our house in about 10 years when our boys are grown. Right now, I need to enjoy every minute of the hustle and bustle of our life. Thanks for your words of encouragement!

  96. What a beautiful post – straight from the heart. I, too, have sweet memories of those busy summers with my two girls who are now grown and married. I can’t think of a better summer post than recalling those precious family times while showing your lovely home, an added bonus. Like so many others, I enjoy your blog and look forward to each new post. Thanks!

  97. Cheryl Edwards says:

    Ann, I feel the same…….I so miss my children at home and all of the adventures we’d take in the summer, they are now grown and on their own and I still miss it. I am newly married and looking forward to this next chapter of me and us and what’s in store. thanks for sharing.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh Cheryl wishing you the best of luck and a very happy life!

  98. Ann, not only did I enjoy seeing pictures of your beautiful home….I enjoyed hearing your story! Thank you so much for sharing!

  99. Peggy Zortman says:

    You have a beautiful home. It is inviting and full of grace. What a heart felt summer story.

  100. Pamela Gordon says:

    Lovely post Ann and beautiful photos of your home in summer. Summer is my favourite season too and I have so many wonderful memories of summers when I was growing up and also with my kids. They are days I’d like to have over again so I relive them in my mind. Have a great summer!

  101. Veronica Roth says:

    Hi Ann, your lovely summer story is a bitter-sweet one for me because I have my last child at home and dread the day she moves on to a life of her own. But also happily look forward to that day for her…out of my love for her. In other good news, I started off with three children and they have multiplied into eight! (including three beautiful granddaughters by my middle daughter) And so I hope my blessings continue to multiply. I don’t know if eventually I’ll be a bad empty nester too. We’ll have to see. :) x

  102. Thank you for this post. It really spoke to me. It made me admit something that I did not want to admit…I am a BAD empty nester. It is a natural progression, and this is the only job we work to put ourselves out of, but it is still hard. It is nice to hear I am not alone. Yours is one of the few blogs I never miss. Thank you!

  103. Sorry for the duplicate post…I did get the ebay link…thanks so much.

  104. Beautiful post Ann…I just love your ‘space’. I am wondering if you made the grain sack purse hanging on your stairway. Love it! A pat on the head for Ms. Kelly.

  105. Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane says:

    Beautiful story, beautiful home, and definitely a beautiful heart. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

  106. Christy @ Our Southern Home says:

    I just love your summer look! One day a strive to be as talented with the sewing machine as you!! Just lovely!!! ~Christy

  107. Luvly post! Ahhh the joys of summertime and the memories we build!!

  108. Shirley@housepitality designs says:

    What a beautiful story and I so love your home Ann….your porch is definitely one of my very favorites…

  109. Mary Johnson says:

    Hi Ann,
    I love reading your posts and taking a peek at your beautiful home. Your post today struck a chord with me as I am sitting on my patio in the western suburbs of Chicago thinking about my life and becoming an empty nester this fall. I am putting on a brave face and telling everyone how nice it will be to not pack a lunch this fall, but truth is, I am hurting inside. I have two daughters, one left for college two years ago and now the baby is joining her. I have been a stay at home mom since the youngest was born. I feel as though I am being forced to retire from a job that I don’t want to quit. Thank you for showing me that life goes on and although it will be different it is still worth living!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hang in there Mary…I promise it gets better. You said it perfectly when you mentioned that you were forced out of a job before you were ready. Thank you for such a lovely comment!

  110. Beautiful summer story Ann…I do love your ‘space’. Wondering if you made that
    grain sack bag hanging from your staircase. Love it! If you did, a tutorial on that would be great, or perhaps I can purchase one on you Etsy site.

  111. debbiedoos says:

    The sweetest story of summer Ann! I love it:) I also love the picture of you in the kitchen:)

  112. Oh Ann! I just love your post… I got a bit choked up I must admit. My summer story is along the same vein and I too see the time whizzing by with my girls. I LOVED seeing you cutting lemons in your kitchen my friend…. On a decorator note, I HAVE to know the name/maker of the wall paper in your dining room!

    Thank you for joining us on the Summer at Home Tour. You are one top notch blogger and MOM!


  113. Kathleen G says:

    I love your summer story. I’ve worked at my daughters school district during her school years. Like you, having the days off too. It sounded liked you worked in the front office. Principal or records secretary? I love your back porch and perhaps one day, you’ll be sitting there with a grandchild, reading and enjoying the backyard. Love this post.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      No grandchildren in sight yet but I’m not giving up hope! Yes I was a school secretary for 17 years. I loved my job but was ready to be at home more so this blog was (and is) such a blessing. Thank you for stopping by!

  114. Karen caraccilo says:

    What a beautiful blog! Loved the story and the gorgeous pictures! I find myself in exactly the same spot in life as you :). It is bittersweet for sure! Do you offer the grain sack bag hanging from the stairs? You should – love !!

  115. Tina @ What We Keep says:

    What a heartfelt post, Ann. I have some of those same snapshots in my mind. Driving away leaving my youngest at college was a “moment”.
    The summery touches in your home are so cheerful.
    I hope this summer is full of happy memories for you!

  116. Julie {Lilacs & Longhorns} says:

    Oh Ann! What a beautiful post! My kids are 9 and 12 so we’re still deep in the heart of summers at home with them and all of their activities. I truly appreciate the fact that I get to be home with them this time of year. It is such a blessing — one I have to remind myself of when I hear them fighting like cats and dogs! lol Your post was a great reminder to cherish it all. But, also, I think you ARE a gracious empty nester…look what you have done with your time! Your home is beautiful, your blog is a treat and I know your kids adore and appreciate what a blessing you are and were in their lives! Thank you so much for sharing your heart today!

  117. That was beautifully written, and so heartfelt. I know just how you feel, having a daughter who finished her freshman year this May.

    Your home is beautiful!

  118. Betty Vasel says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story…I can relate to it totally! You are not an empty-nester, per’ce….because you have all of your dear on-line friends visiting and sharing with you everyday! Love your blog, Betty in St Louis

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I know and you are so right…my blog friends are the best!

  119. Ann, I noticed your shelves in the living room with so many beautiful ironstone pieces. There is also a lovely blue pitcher that caught my eye. I have a smaller version of it that was my mom’s. Reading your words brought back my summers with so many baseball games at home and on the road. My husband and I, once again, are back viewing more diamonds with grandchildren at bat. Happy to see your picture.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      If and when I ever have grandchildren it’s highly doubtful we will ever live in the same city. You are so lucky! I got the blue pitcher from an Etsy shop…I love it!

  120. Charlotte says:

    Ann, this is a beautiful story, beautifully written. I love the pictures of your home! Thanks for sharing,
    Charlotte T

  121. Beautiful home decor. Will you be offering grain sack frames like the one on your console table in your shop?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Debra! I actually did not make the grain sack frame. Pottery Barn offered them a few years ago but they sold out right away. Thanks for stopping by!

  122. What a beautiful story, Ann! With tear-filled eyes, I am reminded to enjoy my babies while they are home. At 16 and 12, I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone! Thank you for your beautiful inspiration, and sharing your story with us.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Before you know it that 16 yr. old will be leaving the nest. Enjoy your time!

  123. Sweet post, Ann and great photos.