Friday, April 30, 2010

Lolla Lee Lou?

The weather has warmed up a bit and this morning we ventured outside for a little while. I cleaned out my garden boxes while the girls picked handfuls of dandelions to surprise their mothers. Bella found this treasure.

"A feather!" I said, to which she replied, "I think it's from Sofie."

I laughed inside. Does she really think Sofie has feathers? It must be that curly little wisp of a tail stuck on her back end. Yes, it does remind me of feathers. (Too funny!) It's now reminding me also of Dr. Seuss' "Lolla Lee Lou" who grew some pretty fancy tail feathers herself.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sitting on the Fence

I am on the brink of another decision. It is a decision I have avoided because I could always get away without making it. However, the time has come to reconsider...

Let's just say this decision has to do with growing a "garden". I already have two little "plants" growing. Each day I feed them, water them, read them a book, and cover them up when they take a nap. According to the NY state "rules of gardening," I can care for two "plants" legally without a fancy little certificate. If I want to add more "plants" to my "garden" however, I must abide by the bigger set of "gardening rules". This is where the decision comes in. Do I go for the certificate, continue to "pot more plants" and take my chances, or stick with just the two little "plants" I am already growing? (One of my fellow "gardeners" was turned in recently.)

Growing a large "garden", or even a decent sized one, takes planning and preparation. It also takes some knowledge of the local "gardening rules". I plan to study the book, think through the process, and plan out my strategy. I think a fence would help keep my little "plants" safely contained and a "trellis" would provide plenty of fun and exercise. I may have painted over the flower garden on my living room wall, but that doesn't mean I have given up on being a "gardener". The real question is just how big a "garden" would I like?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is It Spring Yet?

Yesterday it snowed, today the wind blew for what seemed all day long. It swirled my long hair into a tangle and threw it across my face. I could scarcely see what was about me! I made a visit to Bethany's house this morning. When it was time to go Josh said, "Don't weave, Hannah!" The sun was warm and bright and it actually felt like an afternoon outside might be in order, but when I arrived home another stiff lake wind awaited. Rats! Instead I finished up the nap I started yesterday.

We are already halfway through the week and it still feels like it has hardly begun... I wonder what I shall accomplish in the next couple of days? Only time will tell. If it actually warms up, maybe I will try weeding my flower garden or pulling the plastic covers off my square foot gardens. Is it time to plant the veggies yet?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Leading the Blind (part 2)

Two years ago I posted about this little guy. (Read the story here.) His name is Beau and he is pictured between the feet of my friend, Becky, at a local horse barn. Becky's daughter was taking riding lessons and also training her first Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy. I'm sure it was terribly hard to say goodbye when it came time for Beau to move on in his training, but I'm also sure the rewards of his success are just as great.

Beau is now a working guide dog. If you care to read about him, you can find the story here. (He's second from the bottom of the page.) I am impressed, and happy, to report that my friends are not done training guide dogs. Dahlia has been training with them since the time Beau moved on. I wish them much great success! (The pastor even lets the dogs come to church now! I saw Dahlia there just the other night.)

Congratulations, Bethany (and Beau)!

April Snow

It was another busy day. There were children to drop off at preschool and appointments to be kept. I never even thought of grabbing my camera to document the crazy weather, but I can assure you, it really did snow here this morning (talk about the unexpected...). It was laying like a thin blanket on the roofs of houses early this morning and falling furiously as I drove back to town. I was pleased to see that someone out there had the common sense to take some photos. I was also pleased to see blue skies and sunshine when we came out of preschool to go home.

This is a crazy forecast if you ask me. Shall I get my summer clothes out or will I need my winter sweaters again next week?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Changing My Plans

Instead you [ought] to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." James 4:15

I woke up with a mental list of things to do today; clean the kitchen, straighten the house, do laundry, bake cookies... The day always feels so much more productive if I can check things off the list as I go along. It was going to be one of those days.

Emma arrived at 6:45 am, bright and early, and I added an afternoon nap to my list of things to accomplish. My kitchen was a mess from weekend overload, so I set to work doing the dishes and popped a load of clothes in the washing machine. Bella arrived and settled into a chair with Emma to "read" The Pokey Little Puppy. At this point in the game my plans began to change... A voice upstairs summoned me for help and my day went in a totally different direction.

For the sake of the afflicted I will make this brief and vague. Suffice it to say we spent the morning and most of the afternoon at the local hospital. Everything is fine now and everyone is home again. Somehow my laundry got washed and folded, my little girls were lovingly cared for, and we arrived home in time to make supper. I am now working on those cookies I plan to ship off to Minnesota tomorrow. And, whaddaya know! Someone even posted a cute little blog in my honor. (See the post below.)

Oh, and I almost forgot! Last night we watched The Fugitive. You know how he's searching for the one-armed man? I had to smile when we met the doctor in the ER this morning.

The Green Snake

Once upon a time there was a sneaky, little, green snake who loved minty ice cream, partly for it's minty-ness, but mostly for it's greenness. The green snake liked green things, for obvious reasons. One day the sneaky green snake sneaked itself into the freezer and found some minty ice cream, while no one else was around. The snake just couldn't help itself, so it helped itself to some ice cream. Yummmm! Then it wanted more, but somehow had enough restraint to keep itself from eating the rest. And that is the end of the story.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Gardeners

I made a visit to Mom's house this afternoon and on my way out found a troop of gardeners working on the front garden. Several years ago my dad filled the area with crushed stone in an effort to keep the neighbor's cat from using it as a toilet. The cat is no longer around and the stones are being removed to make way for flowers.

Lucas, just up from a nice long nap, thought helping Daddy in the garden was a wonderful thing. He pulled dry stems from last year's flower pots and tossed them in the pile. He found old flower tags to carry around. He took this gardening business very seriously.

Alysa, who loves flowers, hung by her tummy, feet in the air, head in the toter, to rescue a few violas from the depths. Sara stood ready with a shovel to help her Uncle Dave remove rocks. I'm anticipating a lovely change along Grandma's front walk.

Cherry Blossoms

The orchards are buzzing with sprayers. They remind me a bit of airplane engines and make me feel a little bit like going to sleep. It is the constant (usually) far off hum, a sleepy monotonous sound, that wants to lull me to sleep.
The trees believe that spring has arrived. I sure hope they're right! I'm feeling like it's time to plant my vegetables but don't quite trust the night time temperatures. They're still good for snuggling up under a warm blanket or sipping hot coffee, but I am looking forward to ice cream cones and lemonade instead.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bluff-alo

Priscilla came over and we took a ride to Chimney Bluffs. It was cold. A stiff wind blew off Lake Ontario and left our ears aching and our bodies shivering. The bluffs look old, tired, and somehow unimpressive. They are still interesting, but erosion over the past twenty years or so has taken much of their former majesty. Priscilla was very surprised and rather disappointed. I was not surprised but it is sad to recall how pretty they once were in comparison to now. I think a return trip would be nice, but not until the weather warms up and the water temperatures are tolerable. It really is a nice place to visit and a great spot to take a hike.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cowboys and Bean Burritos

On the way home from the hospital the other day, we made a stop in Walmart where we saw the cutest cowboy in the entire west! (Or east for that matter...) You should hear him "ki yi yippy yippy yi yippy yay!" He was so cute we took him home with us. (Yes, I bought him a hat. This grandma rarely indulges in the pleasure of buying gifts for little people, but this seemed a golden opportunity.)

James suggested stopping for a taco while we were out yesterday, but I went over to my mom's and got a burrito instead. It was soft, warm, and slightly sour smelling. I unwrapped it and took a look inside. After the offensive odor was removed I wrapped it back up tight. Lucky I know a thing or two about burritos. I found it very nice to sit on the couch and hold the little bundle in my arms. I think he likes me. :)

Looking for Answers

I started down a new road back in September and find it continues to be full of bends and curves. Sometimes I appreciate the fact that I can not see around the corner and other times a warning would be helpful. Though my paternal grandfather lived to be ninety-five years old, and my father eventually became Power of Attorney over his estate, I was far enough removed and paid little attention to what my father was dealing with. Besides, it was none of my business.

Now I find myself in a position of being "somewhat" responsible for the state of my mother's affairs. I have enough knowledge to keep me awake at night, but little actual ability to control her finances. I am not sure I yet possess the ability to completely take over if she were to need me in that capacity, nor do I know how to help her realize the areas where she needs help now. I find there is much I know little about. If only it were easy to sit down and discuss all the issues...

There are many others in the world who have found themselves in this same spot. In some ways it is like being in another country where all is foreign and the language little understood. I want to be prepared and I am looking for advice, but I am not quite sure who to ask or where to turn. There are health concerns, insurance issues, and financial accounts. Each comes with its own set of terms, which need to be learned and understood, and that only once they are known to exist. Yes, the road is almost completely unknown and my steps are guarded. One day I will be able to look back and recall much of the journey, but today I walk in fear and trepidation knowing only there is no turning back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy Day

It was a busy day. I will spare you the details as my running around is not likely to inspire anything short of making you all dizzy. I will say though, that the day included a surprise of sorts for me. I had to drive my husband's van for all of my errands while my own van got a new set of tires. It is almost like having a totally different vehicle. I am excited! It's wonderful! No more thumping tires, no more rattling change in the console, no more shouting above the din. I even took "old Betsy" (no offense to any friends out there...) through the car wash on my way home this evening. I can't see what she looks like in the dark but I feel as though I have a brand new car! (Thanks, James!!!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bits of Blue

The world has come to life and a carpet of green stretches across the yard. I should have been outside, but I spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry. I washed sheets and blankets as well as clothes, and this kept me busy for the bulk of the day. Most of them are now folded, waiting silently in laundry baskets for someone to put them away. We took the baskets upstairs with the intent put them immediately into drawers, but got distracted by making beds instead.

I have no little girls this week, but one small boy did come to play for several hours today. He built a block house with his Aunt Hannah, played cars, and drew pictures. We took him for a ride to the little diner in town where both his mother and Uncle Ben were working. We bought him a burger and some applesauce with a rather large sized milk to wash it all down. Unfortunately, he poked a hole in the side of the styrofoam cup with his little fingernail and washed himself and the table down instead. Quick reactions caused us to throw our own finger over the hole and stop the flow of milk, but not before the table was flooded. Oh, the joys of dining
out with a two year old!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bringing Baby Home

Dave brought Leta and the baby home last night and Mom got to meet her newest great grand-baby. She could hardly wait to get her hands on him and, in typical Mom fashion, had to unwrap him to look at his little feet and toes. (Kissing baby feet is one of her favorite habits after all, one can only kiss feet when they are small and fresh.)


Lucas, who had been interested only in the mylar balloon he brought home from the hospital, was suddenly a little unsure about the new package on Grandma's lap. It wiggled like a puppy and made noise too, and it was taking a spot he thought just might belong to him. He felt the need to get up and take a closer look.

Still clutching the string of his new balloon friend, he sat on Grandma's lap and looked into the face of his new little brother. One day they will be the best of friends and will share a lifetime of memories. This is only the beginning.

Not long after Lucas got down from Grandma's lap little Simon (that's his name, Simon Elias) began to cry and you know what? Lucas cried too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Baby's Breath

What a pretty little flower! (I'm in love all over again.)

Sneak Peek

I got a quick peak at my brand new grandson this morning. So tiny, so perfect. (I know he is even thought I didn't unwrap him to count his fingers and toes...) He was born at 1:59 am, weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz., and is 20 1/2 inches long. He smells sweet, makes soft baby sounds, and, of course, has a sweet baby face. He does not have a name. Well, he does have a last name... but Dave was just fibbing when he said his name was Abinidab Jehoiachin... Reminds me a little of the time I told my mom in law that if my baby was a girl I was going to name it Anna Joanna Rosanna Susanna. She said, "I dare ya!"

Ben went with us to the hospital (it's no fun staying home alone), but had to leave the maternity floor because he's under eighteen. He and Bethany went back down to a waiting room with Josh and Bella while I went in to see the baby with Leta's Aunt Trish who happened to show up at the same time. My visit was a little rushed and I may have to go back again for a second dose of sweet baby smell. Not too much disappointment at not getting a granddaughter. Little boys are lots of fun and Lucas will enjoy having a brother. Besides, I love little boys!

Bethany's not disappointed either. See here.

BABY!!!

Bethany's last two posts made me smile this morning, even if I did read today's first. We have a brand new family member and all are looking forward to gazing into another sweet baby face, savoring a sweet baby smell, and hearing those soft baby sounds. Yeah!

I am without a vehicle today as after I dropped Hannah off at Mom's house last night (to stay with Lucas), I had to leave my van at the shop in town. I have just one little girl today and would be without a car seat if not for the fact that the Lord told me I ought to take one home with me last night when James picked me up. I just couldn't shake the feeling that I ought to take one home, although I reasoned in my mind that I wouldn't even have a car. So, when Bethany goes to see the baby today, guess what? I have a car seat for Bella! (It pays to listen cause God always knows best.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Floor Pacer Alert!

I just may have a new baby to hold sometime tomorrow!
Pray for Leta.
And I thought I was going to sleep tonight...

Calming the Storm

Last night I made some decisions and they involved a trip to Webster this morning. After dropping my four children off at preschool (Hannah stayed to help today), I headed out and then stopped to visit my mom and also see how my very pregnant daughter in law is doing. Leta is due any day now; we are just waiting... (Come on, Baby!)

I had a very nice visit with my mom and took her a journal to write in. I told her how much I really want her stories to be preserved too, not just Dad's. So much is lost when our parents and grandparents move on and I so enjoy the tales of childhood my parents shared through the years. I could see Mom's "wheels" turning and we talked and laughed some more at some of her memories like when someone asked her how she liked her baby brother. She said she didn't like him. He pulled her hair. "Why don't you take him back?" she was asked. "We can't," she said,"We used him already." Funny thing is Mom is only 20 months older than her brother so she couldn't have been much more than 2 1/2 or so when the story happened.

On my way back to preschool, I suddenly remember that Vinnie was going to show up at the house because I had forgotten to call and have his mom meet me in town. I gave a message to one of the other preschool moms and raced home rather than waiting for Hannah and the little people. While I was gone the girls and Hannah walked Colton home. They were waiting for me when I returned with the baby.

I'm feeling better today, less stressed, more settled. Thank you all for your prayers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea for Three

What better distraction from the thoughts that fill my mind than three little girls and a "tea party"? My cousin's granddaughter came to play with Emma and Bella this afternoon. I have decided that three little girls do not make any more noise or create a bigger mess than two, at least not the two I normally have.

I am still wondering where to find small children who are not enrolled in preschool. Who will I take to the park next year? Who will accompany me to the zoo. Will I never go back to the Strong Museum of Play? Do children really need to read before entering first grade and how long do they think it takes to teach a child to read anyway? Why can't we just have fun learning to play for the first four or five years of our lives?

Okay, enough ranting. I don't think Lucas will be heading off to preschool any time soon. Maybe he'll enjoy hanging out with this "old woman" when she gets a hankering to play or visit the farm market next year. The girls will be going to preschool on the school bus five half days a week. What ever will I do?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Obstacles

For by You I can run against a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall.
2 Samuel 22:30

I used this verse and photo a couple years ago when I was facing some homeschool challenges. Today's struggles are much different but I find the same scripture applies. With God's help I can overcome; He is there to be my strength, to supply wisdom, and to comfort me when the pressures feel too much to bear, and I am feeling incredibly stressed right now. I just may need a good long cry to release some of the "steam" that is building up inside, but God knows that too and He is able to bring comfort even through tears. I am not alone and I do not carry the burden by myself, but the way is once again rocky and unfamiliar, the walls steep and slippery. I need some good climbing shoes, a sound staff, and a full canteen. The prayers of friends and family are appreciated.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately, wishing you were here to answer my questions and point me in the right direction. Sometimes I momentarily forget you are gone and I find myself wanting to tell you something or ask your advice.

Today is your birthday and so we find ourselves once again filled with memories. Even the happy ones can leave us feeling teary, with a lump in our throats. We know you are safe with Jesus and that is an incredible comfort in our sadness, but we still miss having you here with us. Our time flew by all too fast and sometimes I feel as though I hardly had a chance to say good bye.

Every once in a while when I am at the house, I pull out your old diaries and read several pages before tucking them back into their hiding place. I desperately want to take them home and read them cover to cover, but have thus far resisted the urge.

I still hear your voice in my mind, see your smile, and hear your laugh. I love listening to you sing and play your instruments and I am incredibly blessed that you made those tape recordings for us to treasure. Deep down I once again wish that I had learned to play the guitar or harmonica. We'll be visiting the nursing home tonight, trying to bring a bit of encouragement to those folks you held so dear. I find myself falling in love with them a little bit more each week.

We are doing our best to take care of Mom for you. Sometimes she is quiet and I'm not sure what to say to her, but yesterday we were visiting and I asked her about some of the stories she used to tell us, stories from when she was a child and stories from your days together. Her eyes brightened and we laughed as she remembered those days. She was happy and I found myself feeling relieved. I hope she might take the time to write down some of her memories for us. I think I might buy her a journal. I'm sure she misses you so much more than she ever lets on.

As we remember you today and celebrate your life here, you will be spending your first earth birthday in eternity, a new life. I can just imagine the party you might have with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Art, Danny and all those gone before, and though I don't really think there are birthday parties in heaven, the thought did make me smile. Maybe I'll have to make you a cake (or would you prefer elderberry pie?).

I love you, Dad, and look forward to that day when we will meet again.

Love,
Martha

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Till We Meet Again

God be with you till we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you,
With his sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
Neath his wings securely hide you,
Daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
When life's perils thick confound you,
Put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
Keep love's banner floating o'er you,
Smite death's threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.


My dad's birthday on April 12 is fast approaching and with it more times of tears and longing. We have been working through a different world, marking milestones along the path, and finding our way without him by our sides. As much as we struggle in the journey, I am often afraid there is another who stumbles along very much alone. She does not cry and has become strangely silent. I find I am beginning to miss my mom almost as much as I miss my dad. I hope she knows how much I really love her.

Adding Up

Okay, so now what? Now what do I do? I am slowly learning to drive this "new truck" but it has some features that are still very unfamiliar. Where do I go for advice? Who do I talk to? How do I make sure I am doing what is best?

There are many days when I wish my mom's hearing was a bit keener. It would make talking of such things much easier...

Friday, April 09, 2010

It Isn't Just for Breakfast?

So, what do you eat for breakfast? Does coconut cream pie make a good breakfast? No? How about cake? It has fruit cocktail in it... and 2 cups of sugar. Well, I decided to make myself some scrambled eggs today and topped my toast with apple butter. Better than pie or cake, I suppose.

Some of my usual breakfasts-
1. Rice Chex with bananas and raisins (or fresh blueberries)
2. Oatmeal with milk, butter, and brown sugar
3. Eggs and toast
4. gluten-free waffles (though I don't think I can afford to be gluten-free)
5. Cream of rice fixed like oatmeal
6. Bananas and Clementines

I do like a cup of coffee sometimes (it's always sneaking back) or a cup of tea with a half spoon of sugar stirred in. Once in a great while I have some orange juice.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Kitty Toes

I feel as though I am stepping gingerly through the process of familiarizing myself with affairs that for all of my life have been "none of my business". It's kind of like "licking the butter knife". There are some things Mom taught me that will be with me for the rest of my life. (I have licked the knife, but never without hearing that little voice in the back of my head telling me no.)

I am learning as I go, but find more often than not a wishing deep within that my dad was here to tell me how all of this goes. Mom appears to know little more than me and that is what scares me most. I put her phone number on the "No Call" list (telemarketers prey on the elderly) and have finally acquired the paperwork needed for her property tax rebate. I can not believe the hoops seniors must jump through! Tomorrow I have a meeting at the bank. Hopefully this will shed some light on what she has had coming in and going out the past six months, and what she has to work with for the remainder of her days. Your prayers would be appreciated as I attempt to climb this new mountain. I didn't sleep much last night. (Do I have any sisters that would like to meet me at the bank in Pittsford tomorrow at 1pm?)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday to My Darling!

Once upon a time he was someone else's little boy. I'm so glad she shares him with me. (Thanks, Mom.)

I did not bake a pie, though I still intend to (maybe Thursday...), instead I think I shall whip up a coffee cake to enjoy when he and the kids return home from an outing to the bowling alley. I wonder if he will decide to go on being forty-six or start going backward instead along with me...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Grandpa's Garden

Grandpa's gardens are resting quietly by the side of the house, waiting. Last year they grew carrots, beets and beans, peppers, tomatoes, and very likely squash. A scarecrow, who looked amazingly like Dad, was there to "scare away" little rabbits, and there was a little rabbit who found himself in a heap of trouble after nibbling on Dad's vegetables. And, of course, there was Dad who lovingly tended his garden, compared notes with Bethany and me (encouraging the amateur gardeners in the family), and who was more than happy to share of his bounty.

I have a renewed quest to make my own little square foot gardens successful. It was Dad's enthusiasm that got us gardening and kept us at it and somehow, I still want to grow a garden he would be proud of.

I have a sneaking suspicion that even if Dave and Leta are too preoccupied with work and babies, there will still be a little garden tucked between the next door fence and the side of Mom's house. How could we let Grandpa's gardens lie idle after all the work he put into making them? Besides, nobody likes a fresh tomato sandwich better than Grandma!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He Is Risen


He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:6

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Eighty-Six

It is 20 minutes til five on April 3 and the temperature is 86 degrees? My snowdrops have melted, my crocus are crumpled, and my daffodils are blossoming like crazy. Every time I look out another one is in bloom. I only hope my dear daughter in law delivers as quickly as these pretty flowers. She is due on April 22. (Did you know I was going to be a grandma again?)

As much as I love summer, I would like a chance to enjoy spring. I will be happy tomorrow. The high temperature is forecast to be 62. We don't want to rush through spring too fast. (86! No wonder I feel like I'm melting!) It will be terribly disappointing when the temperatures return to normal. (What IS normal anyway? Does anybody really know?)

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. It was in the eighties and there was a sign by the produce saying that because of unseasonable cold temperatures in California, Texas, and Florida produce prices have skyrocketed out of control. (Okay, so that's not exactly what it said...) I opted not to buy too many salad fixings; no tomatoes or bell peppers, just leaves and a cucumber.

Happy Resurrection Day!


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Wild Velcro Plant

In an attempt to clean out my flower gardens, I have raked leaves, pulled weeds, and clipped branches. While sprucing up the yard, we bagged dog doo and removed rodent carcasses. It is a race against time and temperatures. The warmer the weather the faster the flowers flourish, the grass grows, and small dead bodies stink. Some plants are not appreciating my efforts. Yesterday I was attacked by the vicious velcro plant. They were all over my elbow when I returned to the house.

April Fools and an Easter Parade

I did not fool anyone today or even attempt to. I'm not sure why not, maybe my imagination was taking a holiday or something. Maybe I was just too distracted by the sunshine, summer-like temperatures, my flower gardens, and small children. Then again, maybe there is still time...

It was party day at preschool. There were yummy snacks, a jellybean hunt, Easter bags full of goodies, and a parade. All the children were to decorate and bring an Easter bonnet for the parade. I wondered what kind of Easter hats the boys would wear? I found out that plastic eggs go well on a straw hat, and a paper cone carrot makes a wonderful outfit.
Of course the girls decorated with flowers. This one was my favorite and her little sister came with one just like it.