Oh, that’s right.
It was actually, let’s see, a week and a half ago?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Someone has turned time on fast-speed and I cannot keep up with life these days.

So we’ll just enjoy life twice, even if it’s 10 days late. :)

Who all loved that July 4th fell on a Friday??
I mean, seriously. Not only was it a holiday, but it was also a 3-day weekend.
How much better does it get?!
Which meant Ben was home for three days.
Which meant it was lots of family time.
Which hasn’t happened much lately, so it was all the more blessed.

I posted that day:
It’s a cookie-baking, lemonade-making, pet-bunny-buying, daddy-at-home-deck-remodeling, red-white-and-blue-wearing, pool-swimming, flag-flying, holiday-celebrating, kind of day!

It really was just a wonderful kind of day.
Sometimes the most special days are those of just BEING TOGETHER.
I think I realize this more than ever, because of recent deaths in my family, and my dear friend passing…

So this post is just a celebration of that beautiful simple gift: of being together.

I suppose it’s a little tradition around here to take a few holiday pictures each July 4th, and it’s so amazing to see the change from year to year. But because it nearly makes me cry to look back on even last year’s pictures and see how much the kids grew, so I think we’ll just skip that part. (I’m all in sentimental-mom-let’s-just-freeze-everyone-right-here-mode.)

Happy 4th from the Cottage & Co

4th of July kids

flag kiddos

4th of July kiddos

I’m a little fanatical about anchors right now. It’s a theme of my life, this Anchor of my Soul, so I have it on chalkboards in my house, and painted it on T-shirts for me and the kids. Hudson “cheeeeese”-ed for me in his shirt. Anchor shirt


We also bought an early birthday gift for Zoe…
She has longed – and I mean LONGED – for a pet rabbit for years.

Granted, she’s only 6, but she’s been calling her daddy since she was 4, leaving voicemails,
asking if she could “pleeeeeeeeease have a pet bunny? Because it really would be so wonderful to have a pet bunny and I would take care of it and would love to play with it and they’re so cute and soft and I JUST REALLY REALLY WANT ONE.”

We live in the city (read: more like development), and having a pet of any kind (other than a goldfish) is a little impractical at best, and troublesome at worst. Our backyard isn’t fenced in, and how would a pet even work?

But, when you have a little girl with big blueberry eyes that nearly fills with tears because of her desire for a pet bunny for the past two years, it’s rather hard to resist. My mommy heart melted, and I didn’t care about the impracticals: I just wanted a pet bunny for Zoe, non-animal-lover that I am.

Her daddy’s heart melted too, and craigslist came through for us. Found: Netherland Dwarf Rabbits. As I mentioned, I’m no pet lover (after my best-friend-dog died when I was 10 and I cried for days and I’ve never loved another animal since. But that’s a story for another time, maybe I should go for counseling first.), but the sight of those adorable little fluffy bunnies, well, they really WERE cute.

Ben wanted to surprise the girls, so they were waiting on the front porch when he came home, eyes closed. Someone (we won’t mention names) needed to hold her eyes closed.

waiting for the surprise

The look on her face…

bunny delight

bunny love

4th of July 034

You’ve got to admit, they really are adorable. :)
After 10 days, the newness has worn off just a bit for the kids, but they are still loved.
The rabbit hutch has yet to be built [because of the following deck project, see below]
so the bunnies are, um, in the house.
I can’t believe it either.


We did the “staycation” deal over this holiday.
If you can call working-around-the-house-day-and-night a staycation.
We were thrilled with the arrangement however.
When you are homeowners, you know that nothing is ever fully completed.
There is always SOMEthing to do.

This time, it was the back deck.
I suppose I haven’t shown many pictures of it.
And when I have, it’s been blurry, in the background, you know?
Camouflaged by pumpkin painting and flowers in vases that my little girl picked.
Not really something I’m ashamed of, but not really anything worth seeing.

Not when it’s had nails poking out everywhere, or rotten boards falling down.
Not when it hurts your feet to walk barefooted because of all the splintery things poking out everywhere.
We used it strictly as a place to get out of the house and into the backyard, or out to the car.
The table and chairs and everything else are only for looks, trying to make a café-esque feel to distract from the bigger elephant-on-the-deck,  lest you’re wondering.

Well, we finally saved up money to replace it. (*yippee!*)
This was the perfect weekend to complete get started on the project.

// back deck before //

back deck- before

// My view out the kitchen window, beginning the tear-out. //
4th of July 051

// Olivia and I made them fresh lemonade and fresh cookies //

4th of July 108

Day two: leveled to the ground

July 4th 001

Day two: rebuilding began

July 4th 016

July 4th 019


As I speak, er, write, it is still a work in progress.
We teeter across 2X6 boards standing on end 18 inches apart as we go out to the car because we haven’t had time yet to  put down the floor boards.

I tell my husband I’ll gladly learn how to saw the boards and use the drill to put them down myself, but he’s not so keen on that idea. So I tell him I’ll also gladly – GLADLY- be his right-hand assistant, whenever he has time. Which he says may be today. I’m really trying not to get my hopes up too high, and my lips will speak nary a reminding word. I’ll just offer him fresh-squeezed lemonade and (microwave-warmed) cookies. :)

As a grand finale on the lovely day, we went to a local blueberry patch and picked blueberries. I forgot my camera, but I have an Iphone picture. Kids in a blueberry patch are just so precious. My son was too adorable ~ grabbing blueberries from bushes, from our buckets, and stuffing his little mouth. I laughed at him all evening.

picking blueberries
My sister Ervina worded it so beautiful when she said, “I’m so thankful most of all that freedom is not a flag, but a cross.” 

I am thankful for the freedom of the flag represents, yes. But the Cross purchased the truest freedom, one that can never be taken captive. Thank you, Jesus.

Happy Monday, you all!
Mine is off to a busy start, including a bowl of cereal and milk spilled all over the floor, and little boy in the throes of potty training. Yep. I’m choosing joy, peoples. :)


20 thoughts on “A Holiday Weekend.

  1. Kim

    Lovely photos! Your deck will be really nice, and the longer you wait the more you will like it when it’s finished!! I love the bunnies too!

  2. Kim

    What a fun, happy red, white and blue 4th of July you had! The progress on the deck project must make your heart sing!!! Is it going to be larger? It almost looks like there is framing out over those bushes? Can’t wait to see the next chapter of the deck…………………..Your hubby is soooooooooooooooo handy!!

  3. Ruth

    So precious!!❤️ your kids are darling and it looks like y’all had a wonderful weekend!

  4. Rach

    Oh I loved this post. Your kids are adorable.. and the bunnies. We got our boys bunnies this spring.. they were also in our house the first couple days while the rabbit hutch got fixed.. Summer is so fun with the kiddos!! Enjoy! xoxo

  5. Kassie

    I’m SO glad you’re back! Those bunnies are adorable. I’m pretty sure my twins would freak out over them. Lyla is in LOVE with bunnies. I’m not a huge animal lover either, but I’m sure someday I’ll have to give in to some sort of pet. :-/ Totally different subject, but I love this skirt and it would be perfect for your anchor obsession! http://dresscorilynn.com/product/the-pencil-skirt-anchors/

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Oh goodness, what an adorable skirt!!! If size 0 wasn’t the only one available, I’d have a hard time passing up that promo code. :) But thanks for the introduction to a beautiful new store! I haven’t come across that one. xo

      1. Kassie

        Oh, I didn’t even notice what sizes were left! Good thing I didn’t have my heart completely set on it. And yes, LOVE everything she puts in her shop!!

  6. Kassie

    I’m catching up on blogs and ran across an update from the girl who makes the skirt I gave you the link to above. She’s offering 10% off right now with code pre10. Not that you’re interested. Just thought I’d share the goodness. ha! :)

  7. Breana

    Your family is like my family–staycation means beautify-ing! *BIG smile*
    Can’t wait to see your finished deck! :D

    “I’m so thankful most of all that freedom is not a flag, but a cross.”
    A resounding and grateful ‘Amen.’

  8. Rebecca

    Can I just say that I love each blog post that you write? Absolutely lovely. And I am with you on the anchors!! LOVE them!! :) On a more serious note I couldn’t agree with your sister’s comment more. I saw that earlier when she posted it and it resounded deeply within me. SO true.
    Blessings to you and your sweet family!
    :) Rebecca
    p.s. Can’t wait to see the finished deck! What a project!! :)

  9. jennie z

    I loved reading thro this.

    the bunnies and little girlies are adorable!

    oh….you will LOVE your new deck!! hope it can get finished very soon for you.

    you have a BEAUTIFUL family.

  10. Elizabeth

    Ah! I’m so glad when you post. :) I’ve missed your blog.
    I wish you were my neighbor…how fun to have you next door!
    New projects around the house are THE BeSt! and isn’t it wonderful having a carpenter for a husband!? ;)
    Your pictures are so fun! and just wait until you see how fast it goes by!!! It makes me sad, but on the flipside it’s fun having the older kids around too. I just don’t want them to grow up and leave..I’m going to miss them!

    I love the picture of you and Hudson…LOVE your outfit! You are the cutest mommy!
    Happy Monday to you.

  11. Ervina

    Oh my, I just giggled at Zoe’s starburst eyes. She was over the moon excited about these bunnies, and no wonder. I want them for my own! My husband, on the other hand, was carefully zooming up on the pictures of the deck and inspecting the building process, like any good deck builder. He wishes he could come down and help Ben finish it. I wish, too. Someday we’ll spend July Fourth together… right?

  12. Shannon

    Loved reading of your life again. I thought the 4th was yesterday, it sure felt like it if it wasn’t. We have a work in project deck also… only it’s not just a 1 summer project but many summers. I just keep saying to my self, “One day!” :) We’ll need to see photos of your when it’s finished.

  13. Shelly

    I always love your picture-taking tradition on th 4th~and these did not disappoint! :) oooooh, can’t wait to see the final deck project too! You will love using that space now, I’m sure, because as you mentioned, it *did* hurt to walk on it!! :) and Zoe’s eyes!! What love!! :)

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I wish you could come sit on MY porch with me now, just as I did on yours! It’s a little bit of heaven on earth, and it’s not even finished. Yours was such inspiration! :) xo

  14. Michelle

    Oh you have been busy and having fun! I cannot get over how big your kiddos are getting! The pet bunnies are adorable! I had bunnies when I was little, but sadly, over the time we moved, some neighbor dogs tore out the bottom of the hutch and the rest was a sad tale. So HAPPY for you with the deck project!!! The deck out the back of this house is just like that and I’m so sad every time I see another half inch splinter in Liam’s feet! I’m not bad with the drill … you can run the saw and I’ll run the drill if you feed me some of those yummy chocolate chip cookies. :)

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