Monday, March 31, 2008

Annie Bananie

My beautiful niece! (She's the one wearing pink.)
Time passes so quickly. It's hard to believe that these three very small people are all grown up already, but this picture was taken 26 years ago. Two are married and one of those has children of his own. The other, my own son Jim, has moved on and is living his own life too. I guess in some ways its really not so hard to believe after all. Not so long ago I was the little one in the photographs.

Waiting for Spring

Warm weather seems especially elusive this year. Today's temperatures were actually quite pleasant. It has been like a breath of fresh air!

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's Friday...

We woke up to a beautiful world of white again this morning. I did not take pictures because by the end of March, I am tired of snow. I would much prefer to find some happy crocuses out in my yard, but I'm afraid they are running a little late this year.

No school today. The girls are here but Troy and Tyler spent the day with their grandpa. I tried to clean, but didn't get much farther than the living room where I rolled up the carpet and moved and tore apart the sectional to vacuum under and inside it. I'm happy to report I have found my marbles (they were under the couch). Somewhat surprising was the number of popcorn kernals inside and under the furniture. I never know what I'm going to find but I'm always hoping for money. Today it was a quarter. Hee ha!
My days are filled with trying to catch up with my ever messier house and an ever more energetic puppy. She must be kept in sight if I am going to keep puddles and piles from appearing in undesired locations. Good thing she enjoys taking naps in her crate. It gives me a break from wondering where she disappeared to. She sure is cute.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Too Cute

Troy thinks Sofie is very cute and its fun to watch him with her. He is very gentle and seldom needs a reminder to be careful. He is slightly nervous when it comes to her puppy way of bouncing around and biting at feet and hands. He has called her "Ellie" a couple dozen times and "Pluto" a few too. It will take some time for him to remember her name, I guess.
Troy was very good friends with Ellie and still misses her. When he first saw Sofie on Tuesday morning, he asked if it was a baby Ellie. Alysa is a little more overwhelming when it comes to pets. Even though she is seven, I have to keep an eye on her. (I have my eye on Troy too, just in case you're wondering.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

El Salvador

So Nathan is planning a trip... This summer a group from church will join up with another and head off on a missions trip to El Salvador. Last Friday evening he found an envelope in his notebook after returning home from the teen meeting at church. It contained a significant amount of money to put toward the cost of the trip. Tomorrow we have an appointment to apply for a passport. I've never had one of my children leave the country for anywhere other than Canada so this is a big thing for me. Nate is excited and looking forward to going.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thrown in the Fire

The last couple months of winter and the first of spring are tree trimming months in the orchards. Even while the trees were coated in ice, they were being pruned. Apples need the sun to ripen, so the trees must be trimmed in order that most of the fruit bearing branches grow on the outside. Many trees end up shaped something like an umbrella and are wonderful for hiding under or turning into a house if you are a child.
For weeks we have heard the buzz of chainsaws. Sometimes they are far off and distant and sometime close. The activity level seems equivalent to summer or fall.
Yesterday morning we woke to a billowing pillar of smoke. The workers were gathering branches and burning old stumps and brush. I have often seen distant fires, but this one was quite close. Lucky for us the wind was not blowing toward the house. By last evening there was just a wisp of smoke rising from the ashes.
(That's my garden in the lower corner of the bottom picture.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Little Miss So and So

Sofie is the name I had picked out before I even found a puppy. After some thought and deliberation, I have decided to stick with it. She has had a good weekend and is adjusting well. She stays in her crate at night and sleeps without too much complaining now that I have added a nice soft towel on top of the pillowcase.
If she sleeps, I sleep. At the moment, she is partially paper trained. This makes night time potty breaks easier on both of us. We'll work on outdoor pottying when the weather warms up a little. I found that she does not like baths and that she doesn't hold still for long even when she's sleeping. Jazz is entirely unimpressed. I think she's more upset with us than upset with the puppy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Different Kind of Day

Today was Easter Sunday, yesterday was my birthday. I was born on Palm Sunday forty-four years ago and recall only one other year when my birthday fell on this particular holiday. I was in second grade (I think). My dear daughter, Bethany, thought we should have a gathering. James figured Sunday was the better day. I wasn't sure whether I was cooking an Easter dinner or a birthday dinner...

I didn't get to church this morning. Hannah has had a sore throat for the past couple of days so I stayed home and fed her tea and Popsicles. We read the last two chapters of Matthew together. The rest of the family came around 1:30 pm and we had a lovely ham dinner with mashed potatoes and asparagus. (I made squash too but it didn't taste like it should have.) Bethany brought a beautiful cake and so later on we had cake and ice cream. Ben almost missed out because we counted wrong, eight instead of nine. Luckily we realized we were short one...

It was a nice day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Tiny Puppy

Yesterday my good friend, Ann, called from sunny Florida to let me know that she won't have any puppies to bring me in June. With a little encouragement from her end, I answered an ad in the local newspaper and we went to look at some more puppies last night. We were much happier with the breeder this time and came home with a tiny bundle of fluff, an 8 week old Shih Tzu Maltese mix. It was a different kind of night sleeping with a baby in our room. The crate was not her idea of fun. She would much prefer to curl up next to me. She doesn't have a name yet, I'm still contemplating.
The kids all like her and James thinks she's cute too. Jasmine isn't quite sure what to make of her, in fact she seems a little bit afraid. I don't think the cats are paying much attention yet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Patiently Impatient

Its too cold outside for these little flowers to bloom but, like me, they are just waiting for the warm breezes of spring and a good dose of sunshine. It won't be long now and they know it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maple Sugaring

It was not the best day for an outdoor field trip. The sun was nowhere in sight and a drizzling rain fell. It is March, we live in NY, we went anyway. We pulled on boots, donned raincoats, held umbrellas and traipsed through the mud.
Sap for making maple syrup is collected basically during the month of March. It must be warm enough during the day for the sap to run (above freezing) and cold enough at night that the trees don't start to bud (below freezing).
Once the trees bud, the flavor of the syrup changes and becomes bitter. The sap is collected in metal buckets or piped through plastic tubing to a holding tank. It takes 40 gallons of sap just to make one gallon of syrup. I'd imagine by the end of March Mr. Everson will be ready for a very long nap. This looks like a ton of work!

My favorite part of this field trip is the maple sugar candy and buying a jug of syrup to take home to drizzle over vanilla ice cream, Yummy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wearin' O' the Green

This morning I headed off to the grocery store to do some shopping, keeping a look out all the way, just in case I should happen to spot a Leprechaun. I sure could use a bag of gold! I even bought some corned beef and cabbage to help appease him, but the Luck O' the Irish was not with me and I didn't see even a sign of the Little People. I headed back home severely distressed and what do you think I found in my living room? A real live leprechaun! He let me take his picture but refused to divulge any information on the where abouts of his treasure.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my favorite son in law! I hope somebody buys you a Shamrock Shake. (Do they still make those?)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Little Bit of Quiet

This will be a different kind of week for me. Troy's dad is off work for spring break, one of the perks of being a teacher. I will not be driving to preschool or reading stories before naptime. The toys will likely stay in their boxes and no little voice will say "Martha, is it lunchtime?" several times each morning. Instead of Troy we have two friends from church for a few days. Their parents are in Israel and this is their last stop on the circuit of people to stay with. Will it really be quieter here? I'm not sure, but it will be different. Josh will be here tomorrow and while James is working here in the shop, I just may take a run to the bank and grocery store. Maybe I will get a chance to take an orchard walk with Jasmine sometime in the next few days. After two months of not feeling well, she is finally back to normal. No more venison bones and no more rawhide chewies for Jazz. They both give her tummy aches. She just doesn't chew her food thoroughly and pays for it later.

I am very much looking forward to spring's arrival and so are the little sparrows that sit outside in my naked snowball bush. I have not been in the habit of feeding them but they stay here anyway, enjoying the shrubbery and occasionally flying down our chimney. We must keep a small fire going at all times or cover the top with a screen in order to discourage their tendancy to turn the stove pipe into a dwelling place. I have had birds all the way down to the stove and if they are lucky I will hear them flapping around and release them from their prison before they die of starvation. If I am lucky and remember to close all the blinds and open a door, they will fly directly outside and not knock all my knick knacks off the window sills in the effort to get out. I love birds but much prefer to watch them outside at a distance rather than dive bombing me in my living room.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Grand Baby!

Becoming a grandmother has been an interesting experience. Just about one year ago I learned my daughter and her husband were expecting a baby. It was somewhat surreal. This young woman had been our little baby not so long ago. How could she be mommy already? I flashed back to my own experience becoming a mother and how it must have affected my parents. Mine was not the ideal situation that my own daughter had... I watched my daughter's face become pale as the sickness of pregnancy set in. I had never really been ill with any of my children, so I wasn't quite sure how to help her or even how to relate. As Bethany's belly began to grow, the reality of this new little person began to set in. Almost before I knew it, Adam was calling from the hospital to tell us that our new grandson had arrived. As I gazed upon this little life swaddled in a blanket in the hospital bassinet, I felt a renewed sense of awe. Each time he comes to visit I am once again amazed at the incredible gift of God that children are. As this little one looks into our faces, smiles at our silly baby talk, and snuggles in our arms, I thank God again for this new blessing. A new life ready to experience the wonder of creation. A fresh little person to remind me to look at the world through the eyes of a child.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday Three

I've been thinking of pulling up a few of my old posts and didn't want to completely overwhelm any of you, so just three for today, not thirteen.

1. Character- A photo and story about my great grandfather

2. Drinking Up the Moonshine- What keeps you awake at night?

3. A Reason to Smile- A grouchy little kid

Every once in a while I like to go back and take a look at what was happening a year or two ago.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learning to Wait

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: Psalm 37:7a

Years ago I prayed for patience. I know people say patience is a dangerous thing to pray for, but I figured it was something that God really wanted me to have, and so I asked Him for patience. He continues to answer that prayer in many ways. Only God knows how impatient I really am. I've been told I must have the patience of a saint, but I don't often feel saintly.
Last night my husband and I went out to look at a puppy. Suffice it to say, we were both disappointed. The puppy was cute and very much in need of love, but it was one of those "red flag" situations and neither of us felt comfortable paying a large sum of money to this particular breeder. We went away sad for the puppy but content with our decision.
I keep telling myself to let go of the situation and just wait on the Lord. He brought Ellie to us when we were least expecting it, taught us both some valuable lessons, and He knows both what we want and need. He also knows what is best for us and those we love. Can I rest and wait patiently? Am I willing to sit and be still? Do I really believe He knows and will do what is best? I'd like to think I am willing but I often find myself stubbornly impatient.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Cookie Kind of Day

Tomorrow is another one of those days when the kids go to school for just half the day. Around 12:30 pm tomorrow, three children will hop off the school bus and invade my home. I will welcome them in, feed them some lunch, and watch them scatter this box of toys across my living room. Some of the toys in this box have been around for nearly forty years.
Of course, the "Little People" we once knew and loved are now too dangerous for children to play with, so they reside only in the homes of those who have saved them through the years. I have a pretty good collection, but sure do wish I hadn't sold that bunch in a yard sale when my kids were still small. I never imagined that one day they would be found only on E-Bay. They were our favorite toys when my sisters and I were little girls. We had a nice big box of blocks too, and would design and build houses, fill them with furniture, and move our families in. We rarely used the premade buildings although the kids I babysit like them, especially the castle. Like all small children we fought over the coveted pieces and hated picking up after ourselves, but every day throughout the winter, the boxes would be dragged out of the closet and into the living room where our buildings grew and our stories unfolded. I just can't throw those old toys away and occasionally find myself looking for more... for the grandkids, of course!

Oh, my goodness! I need to make some cookies!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Perfect Day

If there is such a thing as the "perfect winter day", this was it. It was cold, but absolutely gorgeous. The trees looked like glass when the sun hit the just right; glass forests, just like in Narnia. I tried to capture it in a photo but I'm afraid it falls far short.

I decided a day like this could not be wasted. Although I felt like taking a nap, I called my sister, Rachel, instead and we met to take the kids sledding.
I'm getting more and more nervous about sledding as my children grow older. They are no longer content to slide down one fairly safe-looking hill, instead they are on the watch for jumps and very steep hills. Trees are no object and nothing seems to scare them. (I'm quite certain once one of them takes a good bounce on his tailbone this will change...) I watched them crash through branches, fly through the air, plunge down embankments, and slosh through mud puddles. Apparently there is no deterrent. I am pleased to report that all of us left the slopes on our own power, although Ben did have a slight headache and Nathan has a rather nice looking scratch on his back.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Winter's Last Blast (I hope...)

It may be spring in Portland, Oregon and southern California, but in Upstate NY it is still winter. Winter has its icy grip on us once again. Last night we were blessed with several inches of snow and today that is being topped off with some freezing rain. Tomorrow is forcast to bring more snow and after that... well, who knows, anything could happen.

The best way to deal with unwanted winter weather is to make the best of it. It's all in the attitude. It's still great weather to curl up with a good book, set out to do a puzzle, or share a cup of coffee with a friend. It's wonderful weather for baking cookies, good for watching movies, and great for snuggling. I should probably be cleaning the house right now...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Down for the Count

I slept away a good part of Wednesday afternoon, woke up with a terrific headache yesterday, and found it had not yet left this morning. I was up at a decent time, took my shower, and then collapsed in my chair and threw a towel over my head. It was dark blue and blocked out the light. After consuming much headache medicine and sleeping much of the morning, I woke up to my family preparing lunch. I still couldn't keep my eyes open (I was somewhat afraid to), and so I curled up once again with my pillow and favorite afghan and slept away the afternoon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Glassy Eyed

Our glass encased world has shattered. Tree branches glistened in the sunlight this morning making the world appear as if it were made of glass. Along with the sunshine came temperatures high enough to melt the ice. It fell from the trees in great chunks leaving piles of "glass" on the ground beneath.
A headache couldn't keep me from going outside to capture a few photos. I thought maybe the cool, fresh air would help clear my head. Much of snow and ice is now gone and it is once again looking somewhat spring-like. We are in that yo-yo time of year when we could wake up to either winter or spring and every day is a new surprise. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all call for snow, but it can't stick around for long. It never does in March.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Whole New World

As expected, we woke up to a fresh new look this morning. The trees are covered in a thin layer of ice and snow. Damage is minimal but there was no school here today, although I guess Rachel's boys had to go. It has been a rather quiet and very sleepy day. I couldn't keep my eyes open this afternoon and took a much too long nap. I have my van back, complete with new fuel lines, but haven't gone out to the grocery store yet. This is not my favorite weather to run around in and I was much too tired to even think about it. I don't know if the weather has something to do with my fatigue or whether my coughing has caught up with me. Either way, I hope I am feeling more energetic tomorrow.

I have begun the hunt for a puppy. My friend in Florida is just too far away and I'm not sure how long I want to wait. Summer sounds so far away. I figure it can't hurt too much to save up some money and take a look around here. I really fell in love with the Shih Tzu, which surprises even me. I never thought I would want one, but then again I had never had one before. Ellie had to work hard to win me over, especially since she was so difficult to housetrain. I wasn't sure I ever get used to her funny little face, but she was so full of love and affection, and funny tricks and antics that I couldn't help but love her. My biggest question is whether I want a male or a female. Is there really a big difference in how they act? A male is less expensive so I'm thinking that may be the way to go.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Beautiful Baby Blues

Bethany and Josh came over to spend a few hours at Grandma's house this afternoon. Josh is growing so fast and he changes from week to week. He knows us now and always smiles when we talk to him. He doesn't appear to prefer one of us over another (aside from Mommy, of course), instead he just has fun with everyone. He plays with his hands and is starting to reach for things too. He tried some new foods this week and has decided that eating is a whole lot of fun. The sad part is when its gone and then he cries broken heartedly.

Oh yes, Molly came over too. She always looks for a treat when she comes in the door. Grandma's are always good for a cookie or two and in Molly's case they come in the form of a dog biscuit. She remembered to bring her supper along and ate with Jasmine. She likes eating here because I add just a tiny bit of canned food to the dry stuff. Unfortunately, once she is done with eating, she is usually ready to go home and will ask to go outside about a hundred times or so.

Bethany is headed home now and I can hear the icy rain against my window panes. Soon she will be safe and warm in her own little house. The threat of ice build up goes through tonight to tomorrow morning. It may be a different world when we wake up in the morning...


Thanks to my dear son, Dave, Nathan was able to take his driver's test this morning. I'm not sure whether I should be "happy" to report it or not, but he did pass and now has a full fledged driver's license. SCARY!!! Every time one of my kids gets a license, it is scary. I think it is one of the scariest things I have had to face, and this is the fifth time. It's scary enough climbing into the passenger seat when they get behind the wheel for the first time, but knowing they will soon drive off without me is even more frightening... Who will be there to tell him to slow down? Will he notice all those stop signs and red lights? What if it snows?!!! You can bet I will be praying those first several times he ventures out on his own. I should have callouses on my knees by now with five kids driving. Two more to go... Good thing Ben has another two years before he can get a permit or my knees might wear out altogether!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Nasty Weather Forecast

(Rochester, N.Y.) - Monday night, expect rain and snow mixed. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for all of western New York from 5 AM Tuesday morning through noon Wednesday. A half inch of accumulation is possible, with up to 3" south of Rochester. Sleet and freezing rain develop by Tuesday evening. The mix of sleet and rain could change to rain late in the day, well south of Rochester. Ice accumulation may exceed 1/2".

If we're not here tomorrow, you'll know why.

Melting, Melting...

Maybe you think you've already seen this, but actually you are experiencing "deja vu". After our wonderfully sunny day of 60 degree weather, we are minus a little snow! (See the photos below...)
Oh, if only the nice weather would stay! Unfortunately, I don't think it will be back for several days, but there is hope. If this much snow can melt in just a few hours, then spring can't be too far off.

The March into Spring

What a gorgeous drippy day! My kids are chomping at the bit to get outside. The sunny skies and balmy temperatures are too much to resist. This is one of those days where I love to hop into the van and go out for a ride.

That won't be happening today because my van has a rather serious gas leak. I enlisted the help of my darling daughter to pick up Troy from preschool, as I don't think the van is safe in its present condition. No, I won't be going for a drive any time too soon, and I'm not sure how Nathan's driver's test will go tomorrow. I may have to enlist the help of another of my darling offspring to accomplish that task. A drive is out of the question, but I just may pull out my boots and take a little walk. You never know what tomorrow may bring, so I don't dare miss today!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bright, Bright, Bright, Sunshiney Day!

It is no longer bitterly cold outside. Today the sun shone bright and warmed up our world just a little bit. I took my camera and went out to see what was going on in my backyard. The cattails and thistles are standing stubbornly along the drainage ditch. They have weathered rain, snow, ice, and wind and are as beautiful now as they were in early autumn.

I found Oreo hanging out on the front porch of "Hannah's Place". He was happy to see me and when I bent down to take a picture of some dry weeds, he hopped up on my shoulder to say hello. He sunk his claws into my jacket and rubbed his face on my cheek several times before jumping down again.

Jasmine, who left the house when I did, was just glad to have some company out there. Playing in the snow alone is just not as much fun as playing with a friend. She ran in circles, chewed on a few blades of grass, and ate a mouthful of snow. She left some very nice "three-legged dog tracks" in the otherwise untouched snow.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

An Evil Snowman?

The weather is warming up just a little bit and my little snowman is suffering the effects. His eye sockets are gettting loose and his smile is growing. My husband says he looks "evil". What exactly is it that makes a snowman, or anyone else for that matter, look evil? Loose eye sockets? Maybe it's his poor frost bitten carrot nose? It looks rather gray and peely, kind of like mine after I spend too much time out in a sub-zero wind. Possibly it's the funny smile he has on his face. Kind of makes one wonder what in the world he is thinking...

Since I took the photo this morning he has already dropped one eye into the wheelbarrow. Maybe I ought to remove his hat and scarf and dump him into my garden before he looks too hideous. After all, he is looking in my back door.