Monday Musings: Epic Summer

So long, sweet summer.

That’s an odd statement to make six weeks into fall, but with record high average temperatures, the feeling of an endless summer has remained throughout much of October. Although the temps still remain high, now that November is here (and the dreaded time-change along with it), that feeling has been replaced by the harsh reality of 5:30PM darkness and 5:00AM wake-up calls by our youngest.

But I’m not mad about it. This summer/fall was one for the books.

We fell off the wagon a bit (ok, a lot) with the blog, but if there is room, I’d like to get back on board…we have a lot of catching up to do. I’m not going to try and do it all right here in one post; there’s just too much to talk about. No, this is more of a recap…a teaser…a taste of what’s to come in more detail down the line.

Trips on Trips

If anything, 2015 was the summer of adventures. Or trips. Or journeys. Whatever your preference, we took a lot of them this year.

In August we piled the kids in the family swagger wagon and headed east: first for a long weekend in my hometown…

Fun family afternoon at Hagerstown City Park!

A post shared by Tom Hardinge (@classytom) on


…followed by a weeklong stay in Ocean City/Ocean Pines with almost the whole family!

Fam at the beach


beach family


At one point we managed to cram 14 humans and four(!!!) dogs inside a 900 square foot, three bedroom beach house. Of course, the full-sized back porch helped alleviate the overflow…and my dad may or may not have slept outside in a tent (but definitely did).

We made it work…plus, you know…the beach!




Take me back :*-(

If one cross country road trip wasn’t enough, Missy piled the kids back in the van a month later for a long-weekend camping trip to Brown County State Park, Indiana.

Why? Indiana is juuust about half-way between Iowa and NC, where the Flo-Bix clan resides. A meet up camping trip has long been discussed…finally all the talk became a reality.

Epic Summer 8

Epic Summer 6

Epic Summer 7

Unfortunately I had to miss out, as three weeks after the camping meet up Missy and I flew east for my 10-year VMI reunion! We extended the trip with an overnight stay (plus brunch!) with Hannah & Chris in Charm City…


…before heading down the valley for a weekend in Lexington.

reunion pictures 1

More specifically, a weekend with two of my college roommates + their lovely wives in an 1800’s horse farm nestled in the Shenandoah foothills.

reunion pictures 2

Skipping the hotel scene and opting for a house was the best decision ever, and seeing such great friends and classmates after so many years apart was such a pleasure.

reunion pictures 3

roommate picture

All the feels!

Summery Things

When we weren’t traveling, we were doing all the summer things…

Epic Summer 3

Epic Summer 2


Camping, bike rides and picnics, pool parties for days…you know, the usual.


Epic Summer 1

Epic Summer 5

Epic Summer 4

Just making the most of our time outdoors…we all know that the season that shall not be named will be upon us sooner than we realize.

Humble Bragging

On a more personal note…I’ve joined forces with my pal Nick Lucs and spent the summer blogging about the local craft beer & home brewing scene over on Des Moines Foodster.



Make sure you check it out (and give us a like // follow) if you’re into that sort of thing!

And finally, I’ve somehow managed to lose almost 40 pounds since April…which in no way is meant to sound pretentious, but up to this point I have yet to say that anywhere publicly and really want share my “journey.”


I don’t know if I’ve been too embarrassed or ashamed by it, but it’s time to own it because I worked my butt off this summer…and I want to tell you about it before it becomes just one of those things that happened one year.

Let me just say this: in no way could I have accomplished any of it without the unrelenting support of Missy.


♦ ♦ ♦

More to come soon, I promise. New goal for this winter is to at least get back into blogging here on LiP. Maybe not every week, but more frequently than once every three months.

So until next time, happy Monday and have a great week!


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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

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