I have always fluffed and decorated my home – even when I rented a hot attic apartment and my ugly 70’s sofas were covered with my college sheets.

For whatever reason, creating a pretty and enjoyable space has always been important to me. Not in a superficial way – at least I hope not.

Filling Our Home With Friends

But I have always felt that how you surround yourself affects the way you live in your home.

When we decided a few years ago to not move – we also decided to renovate our home so that it worked better for our family. We decided not to add on any new space (well I guess the screened porch is new space), but use the space that we had better. I feel very fortunate to have been able to have done this and have always realized what a blessing in has been.

Filling Our Home With Friends

But this past weekend, it was an even bigger blessing.

13 of our favorite people in the world came and spent the weekend with us, in our home.

Filling Our Home With Friends

(One of our dear friends had to leave early, reporting for duty for the US Army and is not in the picture. He was very missed when he departed. And yes, I am that friend who always makes everyone pose for a group picture before heading home! They will thank me later.)

This weekend, we used every square inch of our home and our property this weekend.

Every part of our home was used, loved and filled.

Filling Our Home With Friends

And my heart was so filled.

And I laughed – so very much.

Filling Our Home With Friends

It always cracks me up, no matter how old kids are, they always end up on the swing set. It is falling apart, but I am not ready to let it go yet.

Filling Our Home With Friends

Now, there was rain. Not a little rain – a ton of rain, crazy heavy downpours with thunder and lightning. So there was a girl zone with Bananagrams and the boys hunkered down in the basement. There were all starting to get a little stir crazy when it finally let up a little.

Filling Our Home With Friends

As soon as there was no more thunder, the kids headed right back out despite the rain.

There was man hunt and capture the flag.

This group only sees each other about once a year – but from the oldest who is about to get his license (when did that happen!?), to the youngest – everyone got along – even siblings!

I was so thankful to spend some time with these kiddos and see even more the amazing and funny people they are becoming.

Filling Our Home With Friends

And don’t get me wrong, I love all our girls, but it was so fun for me to have a house full of boys.

Filling Our Home With Friends

There were many meals served and I obviously thought that the “5,000’s” were coming because I way over prepared. I am so worried about running out of food that I always overcook.

We had group time, one on one time, guy time, girl time. Although I barely saw my own kids the whole weekend.

Filling Our Home With Friends

Filling Our Home With Friends

We played a fantastic game of cards while the kids continued to run amuck and swim.

Filling Our Home With Friends

There were chicken fights and glow sticks and way too many desserts consumed.

Filling Our Home With Friends

We might actually need to apologize to some of our neighbors because after living here for 12 years, this could be the first time we were a “wee bit” loud! Nothing inappropriate or obnoxious – just children running amuck, music playing and laughing adults.

And then as soon as they had all said their last goodbyes…

Filling Our Home With Friends

…the sun came out. It was comical.

Filling Our Home With Friends

So, yes, I did fluff my house and make it look pretty for company coming. But in the end, that so did not matter.

What mattered is that we opened our home and asked the people who we can most be ourselves with to fill it.

Each bedroom, the office and the basement was filled with bodies. No kids had a bed – it didn’t matter. There were shoes all over and the kitchen never really got clean. And it didn’t matter.

I was so relaxed that my laugh was completely unguarded and loud and I let my hair go completely curly. And it didn’t matter.

I know we are very lucky to have have a home and spaces that could handle 17 people at once even if it was chaotic at times.

If you feel like your home is not exactly as you want it and you are waiting till it is to fill it – don’t.

Don’t be afraid to fill the floors with sleeping bags, have people eat wherever they can find a seat, use paper products all weekend. It doesn’t have to be 17 people, it could be one.

But bring the people you love into your home. It is so worth it.

Thanks so much for letting me share our fun!

Take care, Laura

August 01, 2012 — Laura Putnam