What Do You Love About Your Home in the Summer?

I like to think of myself as motivated, but the truth is I think I spend too much time mentally critiquing what's "wrong" with my home. Having two toddlers means a constant drum beat of toy pick-up, and there are always lots of little things that I want to fix and change. But sometimes, like when my whole family is able to eat dinner outside on our deck, and the warm evening air is soft and sweet and golden, I have to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and say a quiet "thanks" for all that is great about where I live.

So, let's take a quick break from thinking about what we want to fix and change so we can wax poetic about the features of our homes that really shine during the summer months. Maybe you love the patio where you can read under the stars late into the night, or the way the light fills your living room in the evenings, or maybe it's your garden, because it gives you a sense of pride and a source of nourishment.

Ok, I'll go first. Here's what I love about my home during the summer.

I live in a 6-flat in Chicago, so we don't have a garden or room for any type of pool, and summer in the city can be hot and crowded. But here's what my home does have going for it during the summer.

1. I love that I have a back deck. Sure, it only looks onto the backs of other apartments, but it's also a chance to eat most of our dinners outside, a space for a small container garden, a way to catch up with our neighbors, an opportunity to listen to birds and crickets as we watch airplanes and the occasional balloon float by. At night we turn on strings of tiny party lights, and the deck is where we drink wine and talk, or sometimes where I go by myself to look up at the city sky and let my thoughts wander.

2. I love that my home is a 10-minute walk from an ice cream shop, bustling al fresco dining spots, and a weekly farmers' market, where I stroll with my kids and fill my bags with juicy peaches, earthy crimini mushrooms, and handfuls of fragrant fresh herbs. Our neighborhood of Andersonville truly does feel like a small town in a big city during the summer, and I love that sense of community.

3. I love my sunroom during the summer. It's a small room adjacent to our living room, and when the weather's warm it's endlessly entertaining to curl up in a reading chair, throw open all the windows and take in the dog walkers and ice cream trucks, bike riders and stoop sitters. Just the other night I heard the following snippet of a conversation trail up to my window: "And she didn't even change out of her stilettos before she started chasing him and his grandma!" Ah, summer in the city. Free entertainment and ice cream trucks. What's not to love?

Ok, now it's your turn. What do you love about your home during the summer?

(Image: Chris & Diana's Redhook Rooftop)