Flashback Friday – Family

ff118_familyHi and Happy Friday.  For today’s Flashback Friday, I decided to use an old family photo from the 1970s.  It is one that Mom just sent to me and I love it.  Besides, the photo challenge for yesterday was family.

Here is my family.  I am the one in the middle. Interesting how we are all barefoot except for Dad.  I love these old photos and treasure them like gold.  Seeing the changes of all of us and the next generation in these faces is fascinating.  I just wish I could remember what I was thinking back then.

I love this family of mine — me, my sister, my brother, our mother and our father.  I love this photo too since it is so 70s.  The clothes, the hair, the couch, the wall, and did you notice the flag in the corner?  So retro and so cool.

I am fortunate to have grown up in a family where we were taught and shown unconditional love, acceptance, and compassion.  Also, we were taught to be kind and respect those different from ourselves.  Kirk and I are now teaching that to Ian.

My extended family is equally as awesome.  We are diverse in everything – our beliefs and our religions, who we love, how we earn our livings, what we are passionate about, our politics, and so much more.  Each one is unique and special and I love them all with all of my heart. Also, I have learned a lot from them.

I have recently had the pleasure of editing a family history book that Mom wrote.  And, I have to say from ancestors to those living today, my family is amazing. So many people have been passionate about so many things and we are all so different.  I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of this amazing legacy.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My loving parents
  • My fun siblings who are life-long friends
  • My amazing hubby and son
  • My wonderful in-laws
  • My fabulous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
  • Learning about my heritage
  • Learning about my grandparents and many great grandparents
  • Growing up knowing that differences in people are okay and interesting
  • Long talks with loved ones who see the world differently than I do
  • Kindness and compassion towards others
  • Love not hate

I look forward to family time during the holidays and cannot wait for more time to chat and learn more about them.  I hope to see my extended family in the summer again soon.  Love to all of them.

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Happy late Fourth!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear America, Happy Birthday to you.  That is what we sang yesterday morning. That was Ian’s idea in honor of the USA’s 240th birthday.  We had a great holiday weekend and hope that you did as well!

On Monday morning, we were lazy and watched America: The Story of Us on the History Channel.  It was an in-depth look at our country’s early years, warts and all.  There was a lot to discuss with Ian.  The show mentioned all of the lives that were lost over the years for us to have our freedoms.  We are so thankful for sacrifices by so many brave men and women. This helped us to remember that freedom is never free.

We then went to my parent’s house for a wonderful cookout, great time with family, funny stories, great chats, and some yummy dessert. It was a treat to spend the day with my aunt and cousin as well as Mom and Dad and my guys.  We returned home in time to watch a few symphonies on television including our local one and fireworks.  We also stepped out our back door and watched our city’s fireworks.  Up late but lots of fun.

On Sunday, we went to church and had a great service, then a picnic in the fellowship hall. That afternoon, we went over to Kirk’s brother’s house and had a great meal.  It was so much fun.  We visited, played corn hole, and a game of Porch Ball as we called it.  Imagine a circle of people, a large beach ball, and a porch that is not screened in, wild passes and serves, lots of laughs, and a few curse words when hit in the face by the ball (by me – LOL!)  We had a blast!

Saturday was a great lazy day at home with time to relax, read, and work on the family genealogy book. On Friday, we visited with some dear friends and laughed and had a blast. We always have a great time with these friends and always want more. Then the three of us went out for an early dinner at a local Arby’s where I used to work, went to the store, the library, and then back home to enjoy our evening.

We had a great balance of time at home and time with friends and family.  This week will be more time with family and birthday celebrations — for a dear friend of ours today and Kirk’s as well. Happy Birthday to you dear Karen!

Today I am thankful for:

  • Silly games with family and friends
  • Cookouts and ice cream
  • Laughs with family
  • Chatting for hours with friends
  • Patriotic music by talented musicians
  • Fireworks
  • Many freedoms
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Air conditioning
  • Summer rains
  • Messy hair and long cuddles
  • My two special guys
  • My family
  • My friends
  • Summer break

I wonder what other fun this week will bring?  I cannot wait to find out.  Have a great one!

Almost End of School

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning, Ian and I discussed the fact that today is the last Monday of Second Grade.  I also mentioned that to his teacher.  Wow, this year has gone by so fast.

It has been a great year and we are now ready for summer and some down time.  The last week we have been dragging each morning, taking a long, long time on homework, and having a hard time focusing. I just hope we can rally for the last few days.

This photo was from the first day of school in fall 2015.  Ian has grown at least an inch since then and has learned and changed so much. He will soon be a rising third grader and should be ready for the new challenges that are ahead for him.  His love of reading has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year.

In fact, this weekend, he started a new book series called Warriors. He read some of it to me and told me about all of the characters.  And, he is nearly halfway through the book already.  He had a hard time putting it down once he started.  He informed me that he is supposed to read for at least 20 minutes per day. That is very doable.

I am thrilled that he loves to read and enjoys it.  He is even inspired with his own story.  He has characters and a plot in mind.  We need to get them all down on paper and move forward from there.  What fun that will be.

We had a great weekend and hope you did as well.  My oldest nephew on my side of the family graduated on Friday night. We went and had a great time. I remember when he was a baby. He has grown into a great young man. I cried happy tears when the caps were tossed at the end of the ceremony.  One of Kirk’s nephews and one his nieces are also graduating this year.  Amazing!

Saturday was Ian’s last pack meeting for Cub Scouts for the year.  He earned a few more belt loops, got to fly a kite, see his friends and the older boys, and enjoy sherbet on a cone. We then went to the library to check out new summer books, played on the playground, and asked about the summer reading program.

Sunday was a lazy day at home in our pajamas.  We normally go to church and have a big lunch, but decided to just rest.  It was great.  We had time to read, finish most of Ian’s homework, and relax.  We ate together and chatted about his story and many other things.  It was just what we needed for late May.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Being there to see my nephew graduate
  • Time with my family and friends
  • Watching Ian fly a kite with my dad
  • Sherbet melting down our arms
  • Feet in the grass
  • A windy and lovely day
  • Time with my aunt and other family members
  • Messy hair and early morning conversations
  • A day in my pjs
  • The start of a new book
  • Ian loving to read as much as I do
  • Friends with birthdays
  • Ideas for Ian’s story
  • Hugs and cuddles

I wonder what this week will bring?  I am not sure but know that it will be good and that we will make the most of it.  We will enjoy the end of our school year and then SUMMER!!  YEAH. Hope you have a great week!

Throwback Thursday – A Special Gift

TT.Gifts_3-3-2016Hi and Happy Thursday!  For today’s Throwback Thursday photo, I decided to post one of a gift that I received when I was a kid.  It was a white AM radio.  It had a rotary dial and I think I am looking at the back of it.

I am the one in the middle.  I am between my brother and sister.  You can see how excited I was.  And how excited my brother was.  I love the shapes of our mouths  Too funny!  We were always making faces and silly expressions and still enjoying making them when we get together.

Don’t you just love the 70s clothing and hair?  And furniture?  This photo was taken in our living room.  I remember this couch very well and liked all of the flowers, which were in style then.  Also, the coffee table was lovely and a nice dark brown.

I don’t remember those pants but think the patches are fun.  And it seems to be a turtleneck that I am wearing.  I wasn’t wearing any accessories.  I wear them all of the time now — earrings, rings, bracelets, a watch, and hats and scarves on occasion.

Cindy, Richmond, and I had a great time growing up.  Our parents were generous to us and always made big deals for our birthdays.  This appears to be one of my birthdays, although I don’t remember which one.  The nicely wrapped packages are fun and gift bags weren’t used much back then.

They also disciplined us, taught us to respect our elders, and taught us about the importance of family and life-long friends.  We also learned to have fun on family vacations and enjoyed many after school activities, including our community theater.  I am so thankful to them and my siblings for an amazing childhood.   Not that it was perfect, but my good memories far outweigh the bad ones.

I was blessed with many amazing gifts during both my childhood and since.  My parents started my Snow Village collection, gave me souvenir spoons from various trips, helped pay for chorus trips, camping trips, and many excursions to the beach.  They were and remain extremely generous.  I have albums full of photos of gifts, trips, and amazing memories.  I will always treasure them.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My family
  • Silly faces of my sister, my brother, and me
  • Inside jokes with my siblings
  • Our children’s silly faces
  • My parents who I adore
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Delicious birthday meals and cakes
  • Reversing the numbers
  • Camping trip memories
  • Singing with the family
  • Gifts given from the heart
  • The generous spirit of my loved ones
  • Photo gifts
  • Shared moments and memories
  • Old family memories
  • My hubby and son
  • Ian’s wonderful school
  • My many circles of friends
  • PTO moms and dads
  • Teachers and an amazing staff
  • A hug before bed
  • Chili in the crockpot for dinner
  • An amazing life so far

I wonder what new gifts we will give to each other?  I cannot wait to find out.  I love that we are creative without having to spend a fortune. And I love my friends and family.

December 8 – Family

Hi and Happy Wednesday!  Today’s photo challenge is Family.   I am blessed with an amazing family.  Both the one I grew up in and with and the one that I married into.  I am thankful for these amazing people – all different, all unique, all special.

From my family, I have learned that differences of opinion are okay and to be respected.  I have learned the meaning of unconditional love.  I have learned how to deal with the joys and sorrows of life.  And, I have learned about partnership, acceptance, and forgiveness.

I have learned so much on every subject from my family.   We all have our own ideas and are comfortable with sharing them.  That to me is an amazing blessing.

My family is perhaps unusual in that we like to be together, we look out for one another, and we truly love one another.  We don’t always agree and may have arguments.  Still there is love and respect and a bond that I am thankful for each day.

This photo is one of my favorites ever taken of my hubby, me, and our son.  We were on vacation at the beach and being silly for the camera as usual.  For some reason, Ian and I had our mouths wide open.  I wish I could remember why our mouths are so big. Anyway, I love this family of three so very much and cherish them both.

For my family who I love so much, I am thankful for:

  • Parents who love me unconditionally
  • Siblings I can always count on
  • Cousins who are true friends
  • Aunts and uncles who loved me like their own
  • Grandparents who I will always cherish
  • My amazing husband and our family
  • A child who I cannot imagine life without
  • In-laws who accept and love me
  • Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who are truly siblings
  • Nieces and nephews who I knew and loved before Ian was born
  • Friends made long ago
  • Friends made in all walks of my life
  • Loved ones I have lost and will never forget

A few quotes about family:

  • “The truth is maybe we are just average. But the way I see it — families where parents get up every morning and go to jobs that are hard so they can get their kids through school and through life, and struggle to make it all work and manage to do it with dignity and a little humor — well, that’s not average. That’s extraordinary.” ~ DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, The Middle
  • “Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” ~ Erma Bombeck
  • “Ohana means family — no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten.” ~ Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch
  • “When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” ~ Joyce Brothers
  • “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” ~ Jane Howard
  • “Having a place to go — is a home. Having someone to love — is a family. Having both — is a blessing.” ~ Donna Hedges

I wonder who of my family I will see over the holidays?  I hope I will see each and every one of them.  That will probably not happen.  Still, I will be in touch with all of them.  Hugs and love to you all!!

Throwback Thursday – Fun With Pam

TT.11-19-Patti.PamIn honor of my cousin Pam’s birthday tomorrow, I decided to post a few photos of fun times with her.  She is one of my favorite people on the planet and we always have a great time together.  As you can see, we enjoy smiling and silly poses.

The picture at the top of the blog is in the beach house kitchen when we were making dinner.  Looks like we are making spaghetti and having a blast as usual.  I recently came across this photo.  She and her hubby came to the house for dinner and to visit with us.  It was July 2009.

Pam has been a dear friend since we were kids.  We don’t see each other regularly but when we do, we always pick up right where we left off.  I just love that about us.  We have different ideas and opinions on lots of things, but we still enjoy long and lively chats.  There is nothing more fun than having a glass of White Zinfandel with her.  This is a great time to talk and laugh.

TT.11-19-4.girlsThis other photo is from another trip to San Diego. It was taken in 2006, before Ian was born.  From left are me, Pam, my sister Cindy, and my sister-in-law Beckie.  These three gals truly are my sisters.  They are all awesome women, great fun, and fantastic mothers.  They all love their hubbies and kids as much as I love Kirk and Ian.

I love having these strong women in my life.  I also have several more awesome cousins who are as fun and special to me as Pam is.  And, I am blessed with some wonderful  friends and other terrific family members as well.  My girlfriends are so very important to me.  I only wish that I could see them more than I do.

There is nothing like time with female friends and family. Sometimes I just need that time or else things are not right in the world.  You know what I mean?  Don’t get me wrong, I love the guys in my life, but a gal has to have time to just chat with other gals.

This blogs celebrates those amazing women.  I am blessed beyond measure to know and love Pam and so many other amazing friends and family.  I cherish each of them.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Celebrating Pam’s birthday tomorrow even though I won’t get to be with her
  • Being able to pick up right where we left off when seeing each other
  • Laughter and a glass of wine with Pam
  • Female friendships
  • The fun of an inside joke with a life-long friend
  • Photos of summer fun
  • Girls Night Out with high school friends
  • Mother-daughter activities and fun
  • Chatting with my sister and sister-in-law
  • Being with my cousins and aunts and nieces

Happy early birthday to you Pam!  Hope you have a great day.  Love you!!

Flashback Friday – Bare Feet

3.kids.Michigan0001Hi and Happy Friday.  The last two weeks have been crazy busy so I haven’t had any time to write.  I hate when that happens. Today, however, I wanted to write a short blog and post a fun picture.

On this rainy day, I decided on a photo of toes and sand. I was sitting on a dune in Michigan with my sister (center) and my brother (right).  I love our messy hair, striped t-shirts, big smiles, and bare feet. This was during a family vacation with some friends.

We had so much fun on this family vacation.  In addition to visiting the dunes, we went on a tour of a Kellogg’s Cereal packaging plant.  It was fascinating to see how that process works.  We then went back to our friends’ house and created our own plant and enjoyed some free cereal samples.

Also on this trip, we went to have a meal in Canada.  That was long before passports were needed for a quick trip across the border.  We purchased some soft drink bottles while there.  They looked so different and were cool souvenirs.

We were fortunate to have great family vacations.  We regularly went to the family beach house, also went to visit family and friends across the country, and went on camping trips.  Mom and Dad always made sure we had a great time.  I have many fond memories of this vacations.

Now, Kirk, Ian, and I have enjoyed several fun vacations and the first of many camping trips.  My favorite place to go with these two continues to be the beach house.  They seem to have as much fun as I do.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Memorable trips with my family
  • Visiting my grandparents and other relatives
  • Old family photos
  • The sound of rain as I go to sleep
  • A raincoat and umbrella on a rainy day
  • Girls Night Out last night
  • Laughter and stories with dear friends
  • Walking in the rain
  • Prayer support for a sick friend
  • Friendships and family
  • Love and compassion
  • Weekend time to relax

I wonder what our Friday has in store for us?  I know it will be rainy but warm.  So it will be a good time to enjoy being home.  I am so looking forward to that.

Family Reunion Fun

Nothing says summer like the ocean and the beach!

Hi and Happy July! Hope you are having a great summer!  I just returned from a wonderful week in San Diego, CA.  I was there with my family for a family reunion and 50th anniversary celebration.

It was fun spending time with so many loved ones.  I am blessed to have a family who despite our many differences, we have learned a way to have fun and enjoy being together.  We have lively discussions and don’t agree with everything, but still respect one another’s opinion.  And, love underlies all that we do.

I love these people so very much.  So, it was a true and amazing blessing to see them — parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends.  So many people and so much love.  My grandparents would have loved seeing all of us!

Over the years of growing up, we spent a lot of summers together.  We have many fond memories of our time together.  Now, many of my cousins and I have our own children who are also enjoying time together.  Now, four generations have enjoyed this special family time.

Because of our week of visiting, laughing, eating, walking, swimming, and enjoying the ocean and beach, I have been off the computer.  Taking a break was nice but I am glad to be back.  I plan to write more regularly for the rest of the month and summer.

Our reunion party included a 50th Anniversary celebration for my parents.  This was in the same room of the family church where my great-grandparents had celebrated their 50th.  In another room at the same church, my grandparents celebrated their 50th as well.  It is wonderful to have such long line of great marriages in our family.

A few highlights were:

  • Eating dinner on the beach house porch with 22 other family members
  • Catching up with cousins
  • Family sing-along time around a piano
  • The lovely harmonies of a favorite family song
  • My aunt’s amazing piano playing by ear
  • Old family photos
  • Breakfast out with family at a favorite location
  • Posing for new photos with more family members and friends
  • Walks on the beach
  • Swimming in the bay
  • Spending a few nights at the beach house
  • Holding hands and praying before meals
  • Swimming at the motel one morning with my brother, sister, and our families
  • Getting fish tacos with my cousin and another time with my siblings and our families
  • A trip to the bead store
  • Traveling to the mountains with my mom and her two sisters
  • Watching Ian have fun with his cousins
  • Standing at the sea wall at sunset
  • Ice cream treats from the ice cream truck
  • Time with my parents and celebrating their long and amazing marriage

I wonder when I will next see my amazing and wonderful family?  I sure hope it’s soon.  I so love all of them and cannot wait to see them again.

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.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

img116Happy Thanksgiving.  Here is a prayer that my grandfather wrote and was published in November 1951.

Here I am pictured with him in 1990.  He was and still is my favorite storyteller and an amazing writer, educator, father, and grandfather.

He wrote a newspaper column for many years called “Parent’s Corner.”  It sums up the perfect Parent’s Thanksgiving Prayer to me. Each time I read it I am in awe of the pictures that his words so vividly describe and I tear up over them.

“Our Father-God we thank thee

  • For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
  • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
  • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
  • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
  • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
  • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
  • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
  • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
  • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
  • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
  • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
  • For parenthood we thank thee.
  • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace.  If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come.

Amen.”

May you have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!  And, may you be thankful for those special to you.