January 29 – Summer/Winter

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday.  Today’s photo challenge is Summer/Winter.  The lady who gives these challenges lives in Australia where it is summer. I enjoy seeing photos from all over the world that other people post.

Where I live it is winter, but I decided to post a summer picture.  It is also a Throwback Thursday photo since it was taken several years ago at the beach. We were on a pier looking into the ocean.  I am not sure if Ian saw a fish, people surfing, or something else.  He was clearly interested and pointing to something.

I was trying to decide if I like summer more or winter.  For a few years after Ian was born, we spent much of the winter in south Florida.  That was fun and the perfect time of year to be there.  However, I also like a little bit of snow and a chance to play in it, make snow angels, and snow cream.  But, I am not made for a long, cold, and brutal winter.

For summer, the best weather for me is southern California. I love that the humidity is low and a jacket is needed at sunset.  Both Tennessee and North Carolina are often very humid and uncomfortable in the middle of summer.  So, air conditioning and swimming are necessities, as well as ice cream, lots of ice water, and water you can run through in the yard.

Whatever the season, I try to make the best of it.  I try not to complain or wish for different weather.  Nothing we can do about it, so why not make the best of what there is.

Today I am thankful for:

  • A light dusting of snow this week
  • A mild winter so far
  • The opportunity to see family and friends this summer
  • The week winding down
  • A gorgeous sunny day yesterday
  • Running errands this morning before the rain comes
  • A bowl of oatmeal with fruit for breakfast
  • Morning hugs and messy hair
  • The healing of a hurt nose
  • Memories of wonderful summer vacations
  • Hot chocolate and visits with my parents
  • Shopping at a massive arts and craft store
  • My family and friends
  • Working on a race car with Ian
  • Looking forward to the month ahead

I wonder what the rest of this winter will bring?  Hopefully at least one snow day.  We’ll see!

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Dusting of Snow

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy Tuesday.  It seems that much of the country is covered in snow this morning.  We just got a dusting, which made everything so pretty.  Here are a few pictures that I took this morning. Have a great day and stay safe and warm!!GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo A Day Catch-up

P7040080Hi and Happy Thursday.  I am a few days behind on the Photo A Day Challenge for this week. All of these photos are from trips to my favorite beach and beach house. Funny how that worked out.

The January 20 Photo A Day challenge was “Window.”  I took this photo 5 years ago of Ian.  He was standing right in front of the door of the beach house.  I love his expression and the reflection as well.

I love that the window and door open into one of my favorite places to be.  I have been blessed to be in this house lots of times.  It never gets old, that’s for sure.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe January 21 Photo A Day was “In A Row.”  These three houses are my favorite beach houses.  One is them is the family beach house and the other two for several years housed some dear friends.  In one house, the guys lived; and in the other, the gals.

Since this photo was taken in 2012, the house with the green trim and the house with the yellow trim have been renovated and new tenants now live in both of them.  It was so sad when this change happened.  I have many fond memories of these beach cottages. I know the next time I go, it will look very different.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s word is “Collection.”  For this one, I wanted to show a collection of cars that Ian and a friend at the beach had on our outdoor table.  One day, the boys put them all out in rows and had a ball. Ian has always loved cars.

At our house, we have a collection of cars too.  I enjoy playing with them and so does my dad.

Other collections that I have are: collector spoons from my travels, china cup and saucer sets, and magnets.  I do enjoy collecting a variety of things and probably always will.

I wonder what the next photo challenge will be?  I look forward to it!

Honoring Dr. King

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  Today we honor the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What a man he was!  He was an amazing speaker, motivator, and worked hard for equality and freedom for all people.  He and many others changed things and for that I am truly grateful.

As a former speechwriter, I know the challenge of writing words that will inspire and motivate others.  Dr. King had this skill beyond most. He was eloquent, moving, and called people to peaceful action.  I have learned so much from him, his words, and his mission in life.

It is amazing to look back 50 years and see how some were treated.  I have wept at movies I have watched that have brought it all to life and sat stunned that anyone could be treated so poorly.  I realize that there are still things that need changing, but great strives have been made.  I hope we can remember to be kind and loving to all people.

While there is still much to be done with relations between races, I am blessed to have a child who doesn’t see these differences in his friends.  He likes them for who they are, not what they look like.  His class at school is diverse and he knows and likes kids from many varied backgrounds.  I feel so fortunate for this.

May we always remember to be kind to one another, to love and not hate, to bear one another’s burdens, to not judge others, and to practice the golden rule of treating others as we want to be treated.

Some of my favorite quotes by Dr. King are:

  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “Hatred paralyzes life; hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
  • “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
  • “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hatred cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy.”
  • “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”
  • “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
  • “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
  • “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

May you have a blessed day!

(Photography Note: This photo is of Ian and one of his dear friends. I didn’t want to post their entire faces in order to retain their privacy.  Hopefully you can still see the friendship of two close buddies.)

Big Boy Stuff

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERALast night, Ian showed me what a big boy he truly is.  Almost a year ago, we went to see “The Lego Movie” at the movie theater.  We left midway through it since Ian didn’t like it anymore.  He was too young, I think.  This is after all, a PG movie and he was six years old.

Fast forward to a 7-year-old boy.  We watched “The Lego Movie” at home on a lazy Friday evening.  He watched the entire movie and loved it.  We laughed and had a great time.  Such a fun story.  Only one very short part bothered him but he stuck with it.

Needless to say I was quite proud of my big boy.  No longer a baby or a little boy, but someone who is growing up.  It sure happened fast too.

Our son has a tender heart and I truly and deeply love that about him. Because of that, we have always let him tell us when he was ready to watch something.  It was great to see last night that he was finally ready for this movie.

He loves Lego and plays with them a lot.  When he receives a new set, he spends hours pouring over the directions and puts the elements together to form a fire truck, boat, camper, space ship, or many other things.  Days or a week later, he creates new items of his own.  He has gotten very talented and it is wonderful to watch his mind at work. Or should I say his mind at play?

The photo was taken at a convention in spring 2014. He was concentrating and very into it.  Lego had a booth, which was directly across from our booth.  Ian was beyond thrilled and went over a few times to build.

Each day, I hear a lot about Lego from Ian.  He explains his build, what it does, and shows me.  He also loves to read books about Lego and tells me about the items that interest him.  It is wonderful to see his imagination at work. He also likes to ask me what kinds of Lego elements and sets there were when I was little.  Not nearly as many as now, that’s for sure.

I wonder what the next thing will be that our big boy does that amazes and impresses us?  I don’t know but I cannot wait to discover it with him.

Throwback Thursday – Warmer Days

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Throwback Thursday!  This morning, there was frost on the ground and houses and the temperature was in the 20s.  So I decided to post a picture of a fun summer day at the beach.

This was taken four years ago at Mission Bay in California.  Ian was having fun discovering sand and sand castles.  His hands were covered with sand and he looks like he is trying to figure out how to clean his hands.  We always have fun at the bay and beach.

I am so over the winter weather and the cloudy skies.  I want sun and warm weather.  We have had quite a few days of rain and cold weather but no snow yet. It would be nice to have at least one day of snow but who knows?

Until then, I will be wearing a scarf, a hat, and my gloves with my winter coat when I go outside.  I will also be covering my mouth and walking quickly.  In addition, I staying inside as much as possible.

A warm and bright picture like this one helps warm me up.  How about you?

Today I am thankful for:

  • The gorgeous turquoise scarf my sister made for me
  • A photo of the ocean
  • Hot tea with cream
  • Warm blankets
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Sunshine trying to peek through the clouds
  • The upcoming long weekend
  • Remembering fun vacations

I wonder when the warm-up will be?  According to the meteorologists, it will start this weekend.  Well, it will be in the 50s, so that is something.  Take care and have a great winter!

Great Family Rules

Now.Oct.21On Sunday, I enjoyed watching the Golden Globe Awards.  Michael Keaton won for best actor for his part in the movie “Birdman.”  I haven’t seen the movie but do want to. He gave an amazing acceptance speech that was quite moving. He talked about his tough childhood and his best friend among other things.

Here is my favorite quote from it that I wanted to write about today: “In the household in which I was raised, the themes were pretty simple: work hard, don’t quit, be appreciative, be thankful, be grateful, be respectful, also to never whine ever, never complain, and always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor.” — Michael Keaton

I love this since these are all themes that Ian needs to learn.  My parents taught us these ideas as well as the importance of faith and family and that just as important as working hard is playing hard.   So here is the quote broken down and a few thoughts on each item.

  • Work Hard.  This is so important for both children and adults to remember.  Hard work is a key part of success.  We tell Ian that his job right now is school, learning, and doing his homework.  It has been a learning curve, but we are helping him to understand that he must complete tasks assigned to him since they are so very important.
  • Don’t Quit. Another important thing to remember is that once you start something, you need to finish it.  Sticking with a task or project will help as a child becomes an adult. And, when you don’t quit, the end is so very sweet.  Success in one’s accomplishment can be celebrated.
  • Be Appreciative. It is easy in this amazing country we live in to take things for granted.  But, appreciating what we have is necessary to knowing its value. So many people are lacking in things that are part of our everyday lives. That gives me pause and helps me remember how blessed I am.  I appreciate having running water, electricity, glasses to wear, a refrigerator, health care, an amazing school, a car to drive around in, faith, and good health.
  • Be Thankful. We regularly pray and say thanks to our Lord for the amazing gifts that we have.  We also thank others for what they do for us, how they make us feel, and for spending time with us.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday since it is all about food, family, and being thankful for all our blessings.  Each year, before we eat, our family stands in a circle, holds hands and shares what we are thankful for, and then we pray.  It is a very special time for all of us.
  • Be Grateful. This is a little different.  I am grateful for all of the opportunities and things that my parents did for me over the years.  They were amazing teachers and have taught me so much.  Now for our son, I am grateful to have them and Kirk’s parents there for him.  Our other family is equally important as are dear friends.
  • Be Respectful. My parents taught me this very well and we are teaching Ian.  It is important to respect others, whether they are different or not.  All people, from the CEO to the janitor at a company are important for that company’s success.  It is important to remember and respect all that people offer and other’s differences.
  • Never Whine Ever.  I love this!  I have always hated whining.  When Ian was growing through the terrible twos and threes, he used to whine.  It felt like fingernails on the chalkboard to me.  We would talk to him to help him stop and explain what he needed or wanted, without that whiny tone to his voice. Thankfully he learned how much I didn’t like it and didn’t do much.  Every once in a while it comes back up, but we try to stop it right away.
  • Don’t Complain. This is so very important to remember as it is an easy habit to get into if one isn’t careful. I know someone who complains regularly.  It is so hard to be around this person.  I feel myself getting more down on life when I hear too much of that. There is too much good in life to dwell on the negative. And if someone doesn’t like something, it can be changed.  We are working to teach this to Ian.
  • Keep A Sense of Humor. Being able to laugh is so vitally important for our sanity and our life.  I have always loved laughing and laughter.  I love to hear Ian and his cousins giggle at something funny.  I love when I am with dear friends and we look at each other and burst into fits of laughter.  And, I love being with family while a funny joke or story is shared.  Laughing at ourselves can make the worst days somehow better.
  • A few thoughts from my family to add. I am also grateful that my parents taught us the importance of faith and living it each day, the importance of family and friends and spending time with them as much as we can, and that playing is just as important as hard work. Regular prayers and being active at church were part of the faith but so were showing it each day in how they treated one another and us. Each summer we had time with family and friends, and our family makes a big deal about birthdays.  We gather to celebrate each person’s special day.  And, Dad worked hard at his job for years but always made time to do fun things, take vacations, and truly his down time.  Mom also worked very hard in all that she did but always made time for fun and things she loved to do. He and my mom cherish trips with friends and family and I have learned to do the same.

I wonder if Kirk and I can continue to teach Ian these amazing themes for his life?  I will work each day to do just that!   What themes did you have growing up?  Please share them.

10 things I love

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI often think of people when I say the word love, but there are some things and activities that I love to do and participate in.  And, some things that I am privileged to have.

Here is a list of 10 of them.  I will be writing another list again soon.

  1. To laugh.  I have loved laughing for as long as I can remember.  I love to hear Kirk and Ian laugh as well.  Funny TV shows or a funny movie can make me laugh.  Also, jokes and stories from family and friends make me laugh. Earlier today we watched the movie, “Mom’s Night Out.”  It was silly, funny, and I truly enjoyed it.  When I was younger, my sister, two dear friends, and I created a club in which we loved to laugh and often did.  We knew the importance of being silly and for that, I am forever grateful.
  2. Having a garage on a cold and snowy day, or on a day when it’s pouring rain.  I have lived a few places with no garage but instead a parking space. That is fine on a sunny day, but when it’s 8 degrees outside, it is so nice to not have to wait for 5 minutes while the car warms up.  Earlier this week, we enjoyed the benefit of our garage. Our garage truly makes me feel spoiled.
  3. Cub Scouts and sharing that with Ian.  I have several family members who have been in scouting for a while so I was aware of it.  However, being involved has been more than I could have imagined.  Ian has learned a lot, has grown and blossomed, and made some great friends.  The first year the parents are required to be involved and I have really enjoyed it too.  Soon, we will be doing the Pinewood Derby Race.  That will also be lots of fun. The photo is a scouting outing to the bowling alley.
  4. Stories.  I can’t imagine my life without words and stories. I grew up listening to stories created by my grandfather and absolutely loved them.  He was an amazing influence on my love of stories.  He was also a great writer who I have learned a lot from.  I think my writing is similar to his and that makes me smile.  Ian is quite good at making stories up as well.  That makes me super happy.
  5. Writing. This is something else that I cannot imagine not having the opportunity to do.  As I mentioned when I started this blog, I didn’t write at all for about a year after Ian was born.  Then one day, I realized that something was missing.  So I starting writing again and that helped.  My outlet of getting my thoughts and feelings out there was again in business!  I have worked as a writer and now really enjoy blogging and doing other writing.  And, I am working on ideas for a few books.  It is one of my dreams to have a book or two published.
  6. Reading. My life has been so enriched by the love of books and reading.  I also like magazines and newspapers as well.  I am thrilled that Ian too loves to read.  We started him out very young and are so happy that we did.  Now seeing him read and listening to a special story is a great way to spend some special time.  Some of my favorite books as a child were “The Little House on the Prairie” series, “The Secret Garden,” and almost anything by Dr. Seuss.
  7. Watching TV – both current shows and classics.  I am a TV girl for sure.  I like a variety of shows and always watch the news in the morning and evenings.  I am one who follows a few shows very faithfully.  Some of my favorites are “The Good Wife,”  “Madam Secretary,” “Downton Abbey,” “Chicago Fire,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Hot In Cleveland,” “Hart to Hart,” “Scorpion,” and “Mike and Molly.”  I like a wide variety and enjoy tuning in.
  8. Soap Operas and magazine.  Okay, I will admit that along with reading and writing and liking PBS shows, I also like my soaps.  I have been watching “Days Of Our Lives” for years.  This show will celebrate 50 years of being on the air soon and that is cool.  Generations can watch the never-ending saga and drama.  It may be repetitive at times but I still like it.  And, 20 years ago, Mom and I got to visit the studio, so that was a lot of fun.  Now there are four daytime soaps left. I keep up with them in the Soap Opera Digest.
  9. Photography and photo gifts. I love pictures and enjoy capturing special moments. My sister has made me several fabulous photo books — one of the first year of Ian’s life and then from our special vacation spot.  My mother has made several great calendars — the most recent of our childhood home.   I always have my camera at family gatherings and also try to shoot nature and other things that interest me.  And, I love old photos of our family and friends.  It is so fun to look back at my grandparent’s honeymoon dessert photo, my sister and brother and I in our 70s or 80s finest, and a very old photo from childhood of us sitting on Grandpa’s lap for a special story.
  10. Singing and dancing.  Music has always been in my life and I love that.  I love to sing and dance.  Whether it’s the radio, singing hymns at church, or the choir, I love singing.  This season of “American Idol” has some good talent.  I haven’t watched this in a while but have enjoyed the first few audition shows.  For dancing, I like the 80s and 90s dance music the best — “Vogue,” “The Electric Slide,” and “Push It” are some of my faves.  I also like a few by Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, En Vogue, C&C Music Factory, Janet Jackson, and the list goes on.

Some of my listing may seem trivial or silly.  However, I have learned in life to find things that I am happy with and that I like.  And, I love what I love.  I hope that you do as well.  After all, we all have our favorites.  Some are sports fanatics, others like the soaps, some like reality shows, and others like talk radio.

What is on your list?  I would love to hear about some of the things that you love!  Please share them with me and our readers.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs in much of the country, my town is super cold this morning.  We are in the single digits, which rarely happens.  As a result, the schools are delayed 2 hours.  I am glad they did that so no frozen kids would be waiting at the bus stop.

When school starts, it will still be cold, but hopefully double digits by then!  The high for today is 29 degrees.  This was the low temperature early in the week.  I am so not used to this cold and I really don’t like it.  But there is nothing we can do about it.  At least it’s sunny today!  That is a blessing.

This morning on the local news, they did two experiments showing the cold weather.  They tossed a cup on boiling water into the air.  It immediately turned into steam.  Really cool.  The other experiment was blowing bubbles, which turned into hard pieces as they shattered.

These Throwback Thursday pictures are from a snowy day when Ian was 2 years old.  It is hard to believe that he was ever this small.  Now at 7 years old, he is very tall and his feet are larger than my hands.  In 5 years, so many changes have happened with him.

He was nicely bundled up that morning and will be again this morning.  We will do what we can to keep warm while we are outside for a very short time. I am very thankful that it will be only for a quick walk into the school and then later at pickup time.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of those working outside on a cold day like today.  I truly appreciate these people and hope they will be safe.

Early this morning, I was glad not to hear any dogs barking.  We have quite a few in our neighborhood and they bark almost every single morning and sometimes throughout the night.  Thankfully they were inside last night since it was so bitterly cold.

Weather like this is too much for people and animals.  I was glad to know that my neighbors were looking out for their four-legged friends!

Today I am thankful for:

  • 2 hour school delays
  • A warm shower
  • Layers of clothing for the cold
  • Heaters and fireplaces
  • Warm blankets and socks
  • Working at home
  • Breakfast with my guys
  • Sleeping in just a little bit
  • A gorgeous sunrise on a frigid morning
  • Fleece sweaters
  • Hats, scarves, and gloves

May you stay warm and have a great day!

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Back to Reality

Patti_Ian_ElPasoHi and Happy Monday!  Today we are back to our normal reality — school and work.   And, the words of an En Vogue song are running through my head, “Back to life, back to reality. Back to the here and now, oh yeah…”

This morning, it was hard to wake up when that alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.  I have never been an early morning person but have had to learn to get up and get the day started. Getting Ian ready for school and myself ready for the day keeps me busy each morning.

Over the past two weeks of Ian’s winter break, we enjoyed not having the alarm clock to wake us up.  We often were up by 7 a.m. anyway.  However, being woken up by a sweet boy saying, “Mom, it’s 7:05,” is often nicer than the alarm clock.

Ian is an early riser as long as he’s had enough sleep.  But school days can often be a challenge, especially the first day back after a long break.  I think he was excited and ready to get back, once he finally got going.

Today, he will have library as his special area class.  Since he loves the books, that should be a good time for him.  He helped chose his lunch for today as well as his outfit that he picked out last night.  So long as he can stay healthy, we should be fine.

Then tonight we have a celebration.  He is getting his Tiger patch from Cub Scouts and is thrilled.  He and his den have been working the entire first semester in doing activities and attending meetings to earn it.  This is the first patch he has earned and we are so excited about it!!

Should be a fun and great day back to our normal reality, but for now, this morning, I am getting used to some time to myself.  The house is quiet again and I am missing my sweet and small companion.  But, he will be home in later and we will enjoy our evening.  Kirk is here today so we can have lunch together.  That will be fun!

Today I am thankful for:

  • Sun on a cold day
  • Hot chocolate
  • Morning hugs
  • A kiss from my hubby
  • Our morning routine
  • Left over pancakes for breakfast
  • Hot coffee with creamer
  • Lunch dates with Kirk
  • Ian’s wonderful school
  • Seeing friends again
  • A kind and fun teacher
  • Cub Scout leaders

I wonder what fun and amazing things we will add to our routine today?  I look forward to finding out.