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Upside Down.

“God I love to turn my little blue world..
..Upside down”
— Tori Amos in Upside Down

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There’s a place I dream about every now and then..

It’s a winding lake town in northwest NJ, centered around the largest lake in the state. I grew up near there and for so long I wasn’t impressed with the splendor, but now six years gone and I see it beautifully. Differently. During two summers of my college career, I delivered pizza. That alone can be a whole blog post, heck a whole book, but I’m not here to talk about pizza. (I think?) I worked in my hometown, for the most part. Every now and then I’d get sent out to towns that were not part of the township I grew up in. Both were lake towns, not even near each other. I suppose this lake really is bigger than I thought. One of the towns in particular was alien to me. I had never really found myself there previously, and I was only sent there once or twice a month. If even. I think they had better pizza options out there, honestly. There were winding roads and marinas and sunsets so grand, you couldn’t help but hum:

“When the day goes down on the
water town
When the sun sinks low all around
That’s when I know I need you now
You’re what I miss”
— Bruce Hornsby

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I don’t know why it made such an impact. Maybe it was the winding roads or the golden hour sunsets. Something about it. I find myself dreaming about this place a few times a year, more than ten years after I’ve been there..or thought about it in waking life.

Two weeks ago we attended a wedding in New Jersey and we decided not to take the kids to the ceremony or reception. They spent the entire day with my sister, who took them to a Cinderella-themed party and pretty much loved on them like crazy for hours on end. It was great. They showed no signs of missing us, and we had a great time celebrating the love of an old friend of mine. We stayed at the wedding long enough that my sister had already brought the kids back to her lake house – a house I had yet to see. As we followed the GPS ever closer to pick up the kids, I gasped aloud to find myself back on these crazy roads of my long ago pizza days. The strange roads of my dreams. And of course I wondered, “Why are they in my dreams so much?” The world may never know.

I also hadn’t previously connected that her lake house Is in this town. No clue why. I’m oblivious sometimes.

So we got out of the car and ran onto her dock and onto her upper deck and into her house and back out again, all the while marveling at the beautiful weather and impending sunset and amazing views. You can see the wonder (and refection) in his eyes:

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I saw a quote today in which someone said, “Summer, where the livin’s easy.” And I would probably amend it to, “Summer, where the livin’s easiER.” You cannot deny certain things, though. Getting into cars without hats and coats. Socializing. Sun-dazing.

Heat-lazing? Star-gazing?

Sunset-chasing?

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Giggle-raising?

Oh, look – it’s me! Self-portrait-chasing.

Baby-raising..

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Cheek-grazing!

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Golden-hour is AMAZING..

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And so we drove home on winding, golden-hour roads, with two pajamas-clad kids and I thought about my upside down lake pictures and my upside down thoughts of weddings and friends and family, and how quickly it can all pass by when people aren’t as close as you’d like. Both geographically and emotionally. Here and there. Odd places in my dreams and odd dreams in my places.

Even the most exquisitely planned and executed days, with perfect weather and perfect sunsets and lake dreams and dream lakes..

Even the most smoothest of big days, of separated children and separated hearts when you leave these golden lake towns..

It’s all a bit upside down sometimes. It’s all a bit of give and take. It’s all a bit of wonder and beauty and fabulous joy. Just love.

“Well I found the secret to life
I found the secret to life
I’m okay when everything is not okay”
— Tori Amos in Upside Down

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59 Comments

  1. You have no idea how much this post speaks to my heart. I too have loved places so much that they've haunted me. they've shown up in my dreams or slightly different versions of those places have shown up in my dreams. Towns, lakes, houses, you name it. It's them along with the people I've known and loved in those places, the right side up times as well as the upside down times. And learning to love those upside down times just as much.

    1. Man, I love this comment. " It's them along with the people I've known and loved in those places, the right side up times as well as the upside down times." That's just too good. I can't wait to read what you write about lost and loved dream places.

    1. Perfect! And yes, I always wanted a beach house or a lake house. Maybe a lake house somewhere really moose-filled in the country, because with oceans, aren't you constantly worried about high tides and bad storms and erosion?

  2. A lake house would be a dream come true. So calming…I love pictures with the reflection in the water. I am so drawn to them. I take them as often as I see them!! I love the stories your pictures tell!

    1. It would be a dream come true! I just love the still water. I know it's not always still but I like that for a home. Not that I don't love the ocean too…it's just different.

  3. How AMAZING that your sister's house is the same place as your dreams!!!Your photos are breathtaking. It is so evident your sister is in love with your kids. It's a joy to witness! –Lisa

  4. LOVE that turtle onesie on Des!those lake views are AMAZING with a capital AMAZING. can I come visit, please? :)(PS: both you and your sis are radiant! your hair always looks so thick and lustrous – love it!)

    1. Of course you can visit! Anytime. There's a room with bunk beds for Bubba and Des. And thanks for the hair compliment. We have some thick hair. I have to get mine thinned sometimes at the salon. "Texturized" they call it. They told me I'll appreciate it one day even though now it scares the heck out of me.

  5. The most GORGEOUS pictures ever!!!! You and your sister are both so beautiful and so photogenic! There's something special about being bt water, with the sunsets, and the ones you love.

  6. Everything is just so beautiful! I'm so nostalgic and I long for everything to be just the way it was when I was eight. Sort of like your lake dream. Just a whisper of something special that you'd like back even though you can't place exactly why. Glad you found your lake!

  7. Your sister is gorgeous! I'm sure she and the kids enjoyed that time together. That is a beautiful place. Delivering pizzas…never would have guessed it. I would think that would be a little scary! You surprised me girl.I love the upside down pictures and the golden tone ones.

  8. Such sweet memories, even though you spent the bulk of the day away from your little ones. All the pictures are gorgeous and your little one is just adorable!

  9. Such a beautiful spot – I can see how it would stay with you. How wonderful that you got to experience those moments – the golden and the together – after visiting the place so often in your dreams. Such gorgeous photos and moments here – the cuddles and the light – a summer evening perfectly captured.

  10. Such pretty pictures! I went on a date this past Friday on the lake and it was one of the most beautiful dinners I've ever had! Just sitting there on the dock watching the sunset (and GREAT food) was just…PERFECT! I really want to live on the lake…I really do!

  11. First you and sissy are soo soo beautiful! The pictures…you sure know how to capture an expression. Des' face really was full of reflection! I just love him! I need to eat by a body of water one day and not just all over the concrete jungle. 🙂

  12. Oh this completely spoke to my heart. I know this, so well. When those places haunt your dreams and thoughts. But not just the places, but the people who were part of them. It takes my breath away.And those photos? Gorgeous!!! (Is this Hopatcong?)

  13. As always, another beautiful post by you! That last picture of you and your baby is gorgeous!Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection. Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)¤´¨) ¸.•*´ (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxoRaising-Reagan.com

  14. popped by from SITS and got completely lost sifting through so many photos. Love your blog!! And it's so nice to 'meet' a new blogger. <3 Great work!

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