Monday, May 30, 2011


I guess you could say I am overwhelmed, and no wonder as I have been burning the candle at both ends for months now. What a welcome relief this extra "Saturday" has been. No small children to chase, no groceries to buy, no sorting of belongings Mom's house. I didn't sleep much last night. I was suddenly showered when a thunder storm blew in and my mind just won't rest. I just can't turn it off. I should have Googled "cleaning mom and dad's house" last week. Maybe I'm not a lunatic after all. And I'm not alone in the world either. (see here) Maybe this could have saved me the outburst with my sister yesterday... :(

I've taken my sleep aides and it is now 10 pm. I have "flowers" to tend in the morning, so I guess I'll be heading to bed.

"In God is our trust."

The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Howling at the Moon

Ever have one of those days when you feel like a complete lunatic? I've been having a few. I'm going to bed now to see if I can sleep it off. Hopefully, I won't start growing fur and fangs while I sleep...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Pressure Pot

I feel a little bit like a dandelion puff in the fog...

My weeks are full of small children who come and go through- out the day. They keep me pretty close to home and when they don't, my mom often does. It's been a little tough to organize either my thoughts or the stuff over at Mom's house. I haven't found a manual on how to conquer this task, and am not quite the "take charge" person I need to be at the moment. Even when I think I have a plan, I often find that someone or something has already altered it before I had a chance to get the original implemented. Blah!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I showed Ben my broken camera this afternoon. He, being a guy, pressed extra hard on the shutter button and *voila!* it took a picture. I am somewhat relieved.

My brother Tim has been in the hospital with cellulitis for over a week now. I have called the hospital several times and always find the nurses very nice and willing to share his progress or lack thereof. Apparently the doctors had hoped for a more speedy recovery and are looking to try another antibiotic or two. On the more encouraging side he has been up sitting in his chair, has also taken a walk around the nurses station, and is well cared for. Though we are somewhat apprehensive about visiting for fear of upsetting him, I am thinking a visit is a bit overdue. If my sister doesn't take Mom tomorrow, I just might go for a drive, buy him a Frosty, and visit myself.

Blah, Blah!!

It appears I may soon be in the market for a new camera. Blah! I dropped mine in the kitchen the other day. The batteries fell out on the floor and the camera card door popped open, but since it fell on the linoleum, I wasn't too concerned. If fell off the picnic table and onto the concrete porch just weeks after I bought it and, other than a scratch or two, survived miraculously well. It looks like I should have been a little more concerned than I was because, although it turns on and displays previously taken pictures, it refuses to take new ones. The button doesn't click and the zoom doesn't move. Double blah!!

Okay, so now it takes pictures and the zoom moves, but I have to squeeze the button really hard to get a photo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Time On My Hands

The gardener/laundress is tired. I am perfectly aware that no one is really interested in hearing about it, but perhaps this is why my comments on your blogs have been lacking or sporadic lately. It's not that I'm not visiting, it's just that along with my body, my brain is moving a bit slow. I'm finding myself feeling like a child with ADD, unable to complete a full thought without interruption either from someone/something else or my own seeming inability to concentrate.

I've started reading a few different books, "One Thousand Gifts" (for the second time), "Inconceivable" by Sean and Carolyn Savage, and "On Becoming Babywise"
(because I am making a concerted effort to understand a particular way of parenting), but have yet to finish any of them. I also have "Lazarus Awakening" by Joanna Weaver, borrowed from a friend and scarcely cracked open... It may be July before I have a chance to finish a book in less than three months time.

I have so much to do and so little time to get it all accomplished, or so it seems... I am looking expectantly forward to summer and hoping I will get those much needed moments to clean out my closets and rid my home of the extra clutter that has found it's way in the past few years. Gah! I'm getting tired just thinking about it!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

R is for...

R is for Rhubarb pie! With vanilla ice cream!!!

(What? We're on to the letter S already? Are you sure? How embarrassing! ... Okay then, let's see if I can fix that little mistake...)

S is for strawberry shortcake. Now if only I had put some of those berries into that rhubarb pie! But then again strawberry shortcake can hardly be beat when it comes to favorite desserts. What's not to love about sugar-sweet sliced strawberries over a fresh, hot shortcake biscuit with a nice healthy spoon of whipped cream on top.

(Oh, my goodness! I'll never lose this extra weight!!!)

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Monday, May 23, 2011


I'm thinking it's about time for these two crazy kids to come visit their grandma again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New and Faraway Babies

Two new great nephews too far away for me to snuggle. I'm not sure how it happened that we live so far away from so much of James' side of the family... maybe because we moved back to the northeast after Jimmy was born... I guess I'll just be thankful for internet photographs, memories of newborn baby smells, imagining how nice they feel cuddled up in my arms, and the hope of a new grandbaby of my own in just a few short weeks.
In the meantime, congratulations to the new parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and cousins who do get to snuggle them close.

(Keep posting those pictures!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old Stuff

It has been a long and emotional day. In our journey of cleaning and sorting through belongings at Mom's house, I came upon another box of papers; drawings from my brother Dan and scrapbook pages from another little boy who spent months in bed sick with polio. Glued to the brittle, tattered pages of the "Lone Ranger Scrapbook" were old get well cards, a few photographs, and a of couple newspaper clippings. I wrote about Dad's childhood battle with polio a few years ago (here), but find myself strangely curious about his connection to Al Sigl and the blood donation he received so many years ago. I wish there was an actual news article I could read, but I don't know that there ever was one. I'm sending off an email and hoping to find some answers to the questions I have.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ground Clouds

Most of the local area was blessed with a day of sunshine, but those of us near the shore of Lake Ontario had a double blessing; sunshine and fog. It rolled in and out all day long, the sun beckoning us outside only to have the fog chase us back in before we ever made it out the door. Actually, Ben and Hannah spent a bit of time outside cutting the grass and that is what really kept us in. I wasn't too sure I wanted to sweep up all the cuttings that I knew would follow upon re-entry. It has been a rather pretty kind of day; mysteriously pretty.

Early this week we had a call from a local hospital looking for someone to give permission for treatment of my brother who was there in the emergency room. I handed the phone to my mother and took it back when she was done. I asked the woman on the other end what was the matter and was told they weren't able to say. "He has a swollen leg," was all she told me. My brother lives in a group home, is basically nonverbal, and severely autistic. It's not like we can ask him, and, of course, that's why they were asking permission to treat him. The next morning someone from the group home called to let us know Tim had cellulitis and would be in the hospital for a few days. This morning I called the hospital to check on his condition. "I can't give you that," said the receptionist on the other end. Huh? I thought that was all they could give... And who is supposed to tell us what is going on when he can't? She decided to connect me to his floor. I left them my number and a nurse called back to tell me he was behaving well, that he's still on IV antibiotics, his leg is still red, and he will probably be there through the weekend. I at least feel better being informed.

The fog is back this evening "thicker than pea soup." I can still see across the road, but Mike's house up on the hill seems to have disappeared. I'm thinking it's best to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

Walking in the Rain

Yesterday just couldn't decide whether to rain on us or shine, so it did both. I thought I might take the little boys for a late morning walk, but by the time I got their boots on it was pouring. My friend Pam and I decided on an after dinner walk in spite of the dark and threatening sky. We packed our umbrellas and headed out to North Ponds Park. Last week we walked with Heather too and went around the ponds three times. We had seen a rather large snapping turtle on one of our laps last week, so this time I took my camera along.

No snapping turtle this time but the Canada goose families were still hanging out by the water's edge. They hissed and threatened as we passed, warning us not to touch their little darlings who scarcely noticed our presence. Maybe next week I'll take some bread crusts along to appease their anger.

There was someone else out enjoying the gentle rain too. Though we couldn't get a really good look at him, he ducked under the water when I tried to get closer, we're pretty sure it was a beaver.

By the time we finished our third lap around the park the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to shine. The water was like glass. Our feet and legs were tired and our three-mile walk was over. I fell into bed exhausted and slept like a log. Maybe one day I'll fly around that trail five or six times! Or... maybe not.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Our "creek" is running and our backyard "lake" no longer takes up so much of the yard. Part of me wishes to solve this Teal Lake problem by installing both a creek and a pond. I know people put ponds on their property, but is it actually possible to install a creek? And where in the world does one come up with money for such a thing anyway?

I've looked at "dry creeks" online and I think something like that might work here if we didn't have to cover such a distance and plow through a knoll to reach the drainage ditch. We'd need several thousand loads of rock to fill the bottom of the trench, and once the creek was done we'd need a bridge big enough to drive the lawn tractor over in order to keep the grass cut. Is taking rock from the lake shore considered stealing?

Little Cat followed me out this morning and hopped across the creek to say hello. She's the rugged outdoorsy type and finds her way into a passel of pictures by tagging along when I have my camera. I think she's rather photogenic, don't you? And her company is nice too.

With all the rain we've had the past four or five days, I think the back forty is looking pretty good. If we can keep the water flowing, maybe it won't be quite so stinky when and if the weather ever warms up. Yup, I think I'm liking the creek idea.

Rain or Shine

What light through yonder window breaks?

We broke our rainy day streak when the sun appeared mid morning. I had thought to spend another day looking out the windows while the drizzle continued.
Now I wish to find some boots and traipse through the orchard. Too bad one small child remains in slumber. Somebody should give her a poke and wake her up, I think. Oh wait! I have two sleeping children... oops.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

R is for Rain

R is for Rain.

The best local festival of the year just might be Rochester's Lilac festival. Unfortunately, the weather refuses to cooperate this year. Not only is it wet and rainy, it's downright cold! I found this notice on the Lilac Festival's official homepage-

UPDATE: Tuesday, May 17th - Due to continued inclement weather and today’s frigid weather forecast festival activities will remain closed with the exception of our Food and Festival Merchandise Vendors located at the Pansy Bed (corner of Highland & Goodman). Highland Park remains open as well as the Conservatory. Please use surrounding streets for parking. Any illegally parked cars will be towed.

The lilacs in my own yard are somewhat waterlogged too.

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Raindrops Keep Falling

It is a mud puddle kind of day. The grass is soggy, the back porch is drenched, and the driveway is muddy. The girls took umbrellas to school and the boys wore boots out to the bus stop. Too bad boots don't keep pant legs from getting wet and muddy... Ah, well, good thing for washing machines.

I know that we have had too much rain. The farmers are struggling and will continue to struggle with their crops. People complain about the Rochester weather and threaten to move, but there is so much to be grateful for...

#724 Firewood on the back porch (Yes, I know it's mid-May, but hey, who doesn't love a fire in the wood stove on a cold and dreary day?)
#725 The trench is working and the lake in the yard can only get so big. (See yesterday's post)
#726 Afternoon nap listening to rain fall on the roof (I love sleeping when its raining.)
#727 A husband and daughter willing to go out for a few groceries on a wet and windy day

Today we are playing in the house. No chasing small children away from the road or out of the flower gardens. No dog poop on the bottom of shoes. Life's not too bad.

1000 Gifts

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our New Creek

Gudrun has a creek in the Little Forest and now we have a creek in our yard too; a lake and a creek.

Our good weather streak is apparently over. Today we have blustery winds and rain, rain, rain. I must not complain though, as there are way too many people out there dealing with much worse than what is in my backyard. I'm sure they would trade problems with me in an instant.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Silly Kids and Writing Books

It's been a beautiful week of sunshine and blue skies, warm weather and cold lake winds. My "flower garden" has flourished! I have loved almost every minute of the week. I found myself soaking in the blessing of watching little ones pick dandelions. I have snuggled soft, sweet smelling children. And I've laughed at the funny things small children say.

I really should write a book and I think I just might have an idea for the first one. (My little girls really do play the funniest games...) If I ever get a book written I'll need to find someone who can illustrate it for me. Maybe that guy who moved to Minneapolis a few years back,... or that woman who went back to school to become a librarian,... or my graphic designer friend out in Montana,... or maybe that painter friend who let my daughter sleep on her couch out in California... Guess I need to get that story written before I send it off to be illustrated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Q is for Quick

Q is for quick

This child is quick. He likes to be outside and he likes to run, usually aimlessly. I have to keep my eye on him!

Oops! There he goes! Quick! After him!!!

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fields of Gold

Dandelions... Flowers or weeds? And what of these little ones who find them so lovely?

I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed my "flower garden" this year. There have been tired days and trying times, yes, but overall it has been a wonderful year. I have just a over a month left, then will come the summer and the flowers in my garden will disappear. I am fairly certain some "grandflowers" will arrive to take their place, at least some days

As I stopped to consider my "garden" this past weekend, I realized that it has been quite some time since I have felt lost and aimless in in my day to day life. That is not to say I am never discouraged or frustrated, only that I have found contentment in snuggling small children, changing stinky pants, and plucking small children off of tables and out of mud puddles.

Yesterday afternoon I sat and watched these little ones pick dandelion bouquets for unsuspecting mommies. I smiled as mothers gasped in appreciation and gently gathered tired and drooping blossoms. What a privilege to offer love and affection to these precious little "flowers" whose mothers entrust them to my care. I am truly blessed.

But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14

Monday, May 09, 2011

On Being A Mom (a second post-it note already)

Sometimes being a mom leaves me looking at a nearly grown up child and wondering what he or she is thinking. When my kids are happy, I find myself smiling, and when they hurt deep inside, my heart aches too. I am no longer at the point in time where I can kiss away the boo-boos or easily distract a troubled mind. I can't make their decisions for them and I can't manipulate the world in order to make life easy. There are days when I fear the callouses on my knees are missing, and times when I whisper a name repeatedly in prayer. I can't erase the pain that comes with life and I suppose it wouldn't always be wise anyway. Somehow experiencing pain, both emotional and physical, gives one the ability to empathize with others, to care how others feel, and to love our neighbors just a little bit more. It is my prayer that my children will always know they are loved deeply and unconditionally, that I am here to help them where I am able, and that it is my heart's desire to be available when they need a shoulder to lean on. I know I have failed often...

Mother's Day

The sun was bright and it was warm enough to play outside for a bit. We stayed home after church and didn't stress. I let the kids do the work even though some of them are mothers too. I made a big green salad. Priscilla couldn't stay long. Rachel came early and we ate dessert first. (We ate it last too.) I gave my mom a box of Jelly Bellies and all my kids a box of Sugar Babies. (Lucas and Simon have to share...) Jim called from far away and I wished I could give him a hug. Lucas picked dandelions. I took pictures. It was a nice day.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Two Red Lips

I had planned to get up early this morning and meet the women from church for breakfast, but the backache that tormented me for the past few days and a night of restless dreaming encouraged me instead to close my eyes and soak up an extra hour of sleep. No rushing about the house this morning. I took a leisurely shower, sipped my coffee, and wandered out to the road to pick up Mom's newspaper.

After a trip to the bank and a stop at Mom's house, I was ready to peruse the aisles of the local grocery store. I picked up some good stuff; salad fixings, bread and milk, several hundred eggs, and a ton or two of yogurt. (My mom likes that stuff, yogurt, I mean.)

Back at home I found my camera and took another walk around the yard. It's amazing what a few days of sunshine and warmer temperatures can bring about. The world is not only turning green, but is sprinkled with other bold and beautiful colors as well. I wonder who took the time to plant tulip bulbs beneath the sugar maple in my front yard? I might never have thought to plant them outside a garden but I think they're pretty special growing out there.

Friday, May 06, 2011

And a Little Cheese Too

Forgive me whilst I whine...

It is a beautiful day and Hannah has taken two small boys for a short walk. Though the sun shines bright, the wind is brisk and cold. This is the blessing (or curse) of living so close to Lake Ontario. I feel cold but I'm trying not to complain about the weather, especially since the sun is shining. After all it is a beautiful day!

Monday evening I went to bed with a slight catch in my side which turned into a full blown pulled muscle on Tuesday morning when I picked a small child up off his stomach in the driveway. I have been taking Ibuprofen to alleviate the discomfort ever since. The muscle pain has gradually turned into back pain, probably because my posture wasn't so great during the pulled muscle stage. I skipped out on a walk with a friend yesterday because I was feeling yucky and a heating pad has been my friend since last evening. I think the relationship may continue through this afternoon.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Paper Dolls and Carpet Tubes

Apparently my Rock Heads were not quite as funny as I thought...

Today Grandma decided to have some fun with the girls and cut out some paper dolls for them to color. They were very impressed with her cutting skills and spent a good part of the afternoon coloring and playing paper dolls.

Andrew was also fascinated and asked for a set of his own to color. He is the artistic sort, loves to draw, and knows many of his colors already and is not even two and a half.

Vinegar was not interested in paper dolls. He found driving cars and putting blocks down the carpet tube much more exciting than paper and markers. At least I didn't have to worry about what he was coloring on or where he was going with the markers.

I tried to catch something interesting on my camera. This is what it looks like to drive down a carpet tube. :)