Thursday, June 26, 2014

Theme Thursday: Swim

I didn't want to miss hopping back in on Clan Donaldson's Theme Thursday.
I'll admit that I did have some trouble with the SWIM theme since the weather still hasn't been nice enough to swim yet.

Pulling a cute photo in from last summer's archives was pretty easy.

I then found that last year seemed like yesterday and yet forever ago.

See my 'baby'? 

Where did she go? Now that she's all grown up and nearly 2 1/2, I can't believe that it was just last summer she seemed so much younger.

Time and mothering children are a funny thing.

I'm looking forward to warmer days filled with sun and swim this summer. We're sure to have many more summer adventures awaiting us this year.

Join the others at Cari's for more Theme Thursday fun!

Monday, June 23, 2014

We're On Summer Time Daybook

 Outside my Window...

A cool and bright morning. I can hear the birds singing through the open windows and patio door. It looks like it's going to be a glorious, no rain day perfect for the abundance of weeding I need to get done.

Thankful For...

Summer break and more time outside with the kids.

Treasured memories that find a corner in my heart to take rest.

Four healthy children who are blossoming and enjoying one another, most of the time.

Thinking About...

Patty's post and being 'just' mom this summer. I feel like I am on the brink of a change because the season is changing for my kids too. It's a good thing, but I'm still trying to figure out all the pieces and put them together in an organized puzzle.

Paint colors from Pinterest boards for little girls room. I think I have it narrowed down, but I'm trying to find just the right colors. Of course, I'm not finding curtains I like so potentially a curtain sewing project will be another thing to be thinking about soon.

What I am Reading...

Taking the suggestion from Margaret, I recently purchased The Gift of An Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. While I'm not quite at the same place in my life as the author was, I still can identify and really enjoy the book. It's somehow settling my restlessness and giving me oodles to contemplate.

From The Kitchen...

Snacks, snacks and more snacks!

Homemade pudding pops, smoothie pops, breakfast cookies and summertime favorite, frozen grapes.

Anyone else struggle with a changing summer appetite? I sure do. I never really know what I want to eat and most things don't taste that good in the heat. I'm trying to make good meals for my family, but find myself stuck when my taste buds are lacking.

Praying For...

Trusting in God's divine plan and settling in the midst of the unsettled.

Four new priests in our diocese who were ordained on Saturday. We were blessed enough to all attend the ordination Mass and one of their first Masses. God has blessed us and our diocese with a good crop of young guys to lead our Church.

On Tap for this Week...

Community Ed summer classes for the big kids this week: Lego Builder Workshop, Learn to Sew and Fun with Foods. That alone should successfully keep Ma & Pa's Chauffeur Service busy.

Around the House...

The great bedroom/schoolroom disaster swap of summer '14.

Trust me, it ain't pretty. It's also a lot of work that I cannot seem to find time to get accomplished. It will get there, but I hope it doesn't take all summer. It simply can't. My sanity says so.

Picture to Share...

Way back in 2009 we hosted the first Vocation Camp in our area for the diocese. That year, a young man had finished his first year of seminary and we connected with him, therefore he became a family friend.

That's Aaron in the back row, way on the left:

We've prayed for him these last five years and kept in contact. He even did this really nice thing for the little girls when he heard of their Pope Francis love.

Jump ahead to this past weekend and here is FR. Aaron now:

We are so happy to have shared his special day and First Mass of Thanksgiving with him.

Enjoy your first official week of summer!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fathers {Late Edition}

Two days later, but I'm still thinking about Father's Day. I thought throwing out a few photos from our day would be a nice little entry. When I looked back at the photos, I again found sufficiency in the simplicity. 

A day to honor dad and husband. A day to just do what they want to do.

Our original plans for a picnic lunch at a park with my dad (my mom had to work over the weekend) had to be changed due to more rain. Instead I served up lovin' in the form of breakfast at my dining room table.

Then we pretty much just hung out and spent time enjoying. Reed went for a bike ride with the big kids in the afternoon and I visited with dad while the girls napped.

Later in the afternoon after dad headed home, we spent time with Reed's dad and mom.

Our Father's Day came to a close with an indoor picnic supper. We figured since we missed out earlier in the day and it was still too wet outdoors, we'd still celebrate indoors.

At the end of the day, dads were honored and loved, our bellies and our hearts were full.

I believe that's the measure of a very good day and Reed felt just the same.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June Garden {link up}

While everyone else is busy posting their Friday Quick Takes, I thought I'd jump in on Cari's garden party a week late. I had taken the photos and had them all ready, so heck, why not?

garden tour

While winter took near forever to leave, since spring has arrived we've had a lot of rain. It's a good thing, but not for all farmers and gardeners who couldn't/still can't get their planting in.

Thankfully, between some rains a few weeks ago I was able to get our seeds and plants in the ground. I was one of the fortunate ones.

The vegetable garden is fenced in to keep the neighborhood deer population out.

This year in the garden we have yellow and green beans, carrots, lettuce, spinach, squash, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and watermelon (Jonah's request, but we're skeptical our growing season will be long enough to produce).

Moving along in the yard we pass our latest development: a chicken coop. Now if said rains would give us a break so we can finish this project, I'd be happy. I'll keep you posted.

In the front yard, right in front of the wrap around porch are two terraces. The top one has shrubs that provide a bit of a screen for annoying neighbors. What? I've never told you about the campground park across the driveway with loud, nosey, insensitive inhabitants. Ok, I won't tell you today either. Let's pretend I live in a beautiful wonderland with no weirdo neighbors in the summer.

The front terrace has perennials that I have grown there for years and divided a few several times. This spring I divided the hostas thinking I had done my job well. Now that they are leafed out I see that a MAJOR divide will need to happen again next spring. 

For the life of me the name is escaping my brain what the first flowers are called. The pink ones were a new addition last year and are spreading quite well. They are a dwarf creeping baby's breath.

Moving along to the south side, this is my biggest and probably favorite garden. It's Natalie's Garden by name. After years of hard work and expansions, it is quite prolific and thriving even after a hard winter.

I painted that little bench last year from a white and I have so enjoyed the color-pop in with the greens.

A few of my beauties that are blooming already. The dark purple one on the left is spiderwort and it started from two plants but has replanted itself in a few other spots in the garden now too. The light purple one (again, name escapes me and therefore perhaps I shouldn't write posts in the AM hours) was an addition that Reed picked up from a greenhouse last year. It's delicate blooms and greens are pretty this time of year.

These cute pansies are Lily's addition. She had these pansies in her bedroom window last year. She nurtured them and they failed to bloom last summer. Late in the summer she planted them in the garden and we tried not to break her heart when all winter she eagerly anticipated their reappearance this spring. Boy were we wrong! One day, she noticed that these little annuals had indeed survived winter. And lo and behold, they even started to bloom!

She's pretty proud.

My new Mary statue has a few flowers to surround her and more will be coming. I told you she'd be the perfect addition to this garden and she is!

Finally, in the backyard is where the hostas thrive. It's also a mosquito haven so they are most appreciated from the deck or my kitchen window. Again, these hostas were divided this spring. Another divide will happen next year too I guess. Phew. They are so beautiful right now due to the ideal hosta weather I guess.

The creeping white and green leaf in between is dead nettle. A very good plant for ground cover if you would be looking for one.

Behind that hosta box garden is this hosta garden. It has a few petite daylilies, coralbells and mums thrown in there for color. Unfortunately, the coralbells don't seem to be thriving and surviving back there.

I have an old stove under the tree that has a couple of dusty miller and moss roses inside.

I almost forgot! To adorn the front door I have this new addition:

The chair came from my grandparent's house. After they moved to the nursing home last fall and grandpa's passing in December, the family went through their things. A couple of us got these chairs. Each of us have painted them and are using them as accents with flowers at our homes. I just painted my mom's in a candy apple red which is perfect for their yard. This project will get completed when hubs gets a chance. He'll cut out a hole in the seat of the chair so the pot sets in there. Hopefully these trailing plants will then do their job and cascade beautifully over the chair. We'll see.

Hopefully you've enjoyed a bit of my garden tour to kick off your weekend.We'll see how things are growing next month and I'll post more photos.

Remember to click over to Cari's to check out all the other wonderfully creative gardens.

Have a great weekend and enjoy honoring your Fathers and Husbands on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


When walking the path of mourning it is customary to rush death in the same way we often rush life.

Losing grandma suddenly felt too soon and too fast, while at the same time the pain and journey to death too long.

While caught in the grieving holding pattern as we awaited her funeral, life still moved on.

On the one hand I was grateful that we had finished school and were free. On the other, normalcy and routine would've been a welcome distraction.

Where do we often go when we don't know what else to do or where to go?


Home where dad and mom still reside. Home where hometown is a place that everyone knows you lost someone you dearly loved.

There you find a piece of joy, a strong place of belonging and that piece of your heart that never left.

Smiles come more easily there.

Grandmas and grandchildren remind you of the relationship that formed you deeply.
The one that now, while gone, takes up residence in your adult heart more than you realized.

As the days pass and each waking hour reveals memories long forgotten, you do what she would've done. 


It was in that baking that she showed her love and kindness to neighbors, family, friends, 
and even strangers.

When you finally go to say goodbye, you are comforted still by her beauty and the hint of a smile.

Here she has no more pain, no disappointment, no struggle for life.

Here there is a firm faith, family, friends and fond memories.

This day has come. 

The one that felt like it would never come and yet now so casually arrives.

The day when one last time you behold her beauty and grasp every last moment to 
capture in a still-frame on your heart.

The tears flow freely as each prayer is prayed and song is sung.

She would've enjoyed the meticulously planned farewell. From the white casket with the pink flowers to her favorite hymns sung by the choir she heard every Sunday for nearly all her life. 

A goodbye for now. Her hello for eternity.

The book closes as we come to the end.
Somewhere there is a new chapter waiting to be written.

Driving out of your hometown a feeling of loneliness comes to the surface.
It is different now.

Grandparents are no longer along the path and across the meadow.
Their bodies are buried and hidden there on the other side of town.
Their headstone the mere remnant of who they were and the years their lives graced this earth with their presence.

A blessed life. A full life.

I am grateful I was chosen to be a part of it and be their descendant.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Another Goodbye

It seems nearly yesterday that we buried my Papa. It was nearly yesterday. It was nearly 6 months ago. The memories so fresh and the emotions not forgotten.

And now we will bury my grandma who hopefully has joined my Papa in heaven.

This day was coming. This season of life and death had been there all along, but yet the raw feeling of an aching heart has a distinct feeling. You walk around in a slight haze awaiting the inevitable.

Last week was a rough one for my grandma Rita. There is too many medical ups and downs to recount here. Thankfully, I was able to spend several hours with her last Thursday. I hope she knew I was there and heard my voice. I hope she heard me sing the song to her that she sang me all my childhood whenever I helped her in the kitchen. 

A determined and strong woman until the end, she couldn't let go until everything had been tried. 

She was perhaps the grandparent in my life I was closest to. The one I spent so many hours with as I helped her bake, cook and wash dishes in the old farmhouse. It was she whom I would go to see as I walked across the meadow with grandpa and grandma's house in sight. Many summers were spent in the garden with grandma weeding and picking vegetables. Days long gone by when we'd hang the laundry on the line or while she rested in the afternoon I'd sit on the couch near her. The memories of baked bread, coffeecakes, fried hamburgers or an afternoon cake fresh from the oven are the treasured ones that I still vividly recall. 

I am grateful for these memories of my grandma, grandpa and their simple life. Things were tough for them with life on the farm and health issues all their lives. What they couldn't supply in gifts or money, they did in love and little things that have no earthly value. They shared their home with so many family and friends, while sharing pieces of them and their hearts as well. 

While the Church celebrated the feast of the Ascension yesterday, I prayed that my grandma saw that same glory of Heaven as she left this world at 5:30 am. 

I am grateful that I took all my kids to visit grandma, just over a month ago, on her birthday.
That simple visit is the last one my children will remember and it's a good one.

And Jonah will always remember his birthday buddy, my grandma, as we think of her and pray for her each year as Jonah celebrates his special day.

I love you grandma. 

May the angels and Saints surround you and welcome you to your heavenly home.

Eternal rest, grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace.

May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.   Amen.

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