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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Halloween Flashback Friday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday!  In a few days it will be the last day of October and Halloween.  My this month has flown by.  This photo is from many years ago of Ian dressed as Elmo.  As you can see, I was in a similar outfit.

I know several families who do not celebrate Halloween.  We do, but ours is the fun dress-up Halloween, not the scary one that many people seem to like. Each year, I have to warn Ian that some people like scary stuff.  We do not, as he likes to remind me.

We are ready to walk around the neighborhood and ask for candy.  It is supposed to be warm so that will work well for his costume.  He is wearing the same as what he did last year and is excited about that.

A few Halloween questions.  What are your answers?  Mine are below.

  • Store bought costume or homemade?  Ours are usually homemade.
  • Favorite candy? Junior Mints, M&Ms, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Stay home or go out?  We trick-or-treat and then come home and give out candy
  • Favorite scary movie?  Don’t like them so none

Hope you have a great weekend and a fun Halloween if you celebrate it!  We sure will.

Happy Anniversary to Kirk / Happy Birthday to Dad

TT.DadDay2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday.  Today is my wedding anniversary with my hubby Kirk and also my father’s birthday.  What a special day it is. The top photo is of me with my dad the year before Ian was born.  The bottom photo is of my groom, Ian, and me.

Over the weekend, we celebrated my dad and a family friend and had a blast.  Our family and friends always make a big deal about birthdays.  I just love that.  We celebrate each person, have great meals and cakes and ice cream, and give gifts and cards as well. The birthday boy or girl chooses the special meal that is made in his or her honor.  There is also singing and lots of photos.

This morning, Kirk and I had breakfast, reminisced about our wedding day, and gave each other cards.  We are both quite busy and will celebrate more later.  More importantly, we are loving and kind to each other each day.  Or at least try to be. We are also best friends and love doing stuff together.

My hubby and my dad are two of my favorite guys.  I am so very blessed and so thankful for both of them and all that they have meant to me.  It was great for Dad to share his special day with us.  I love them both so very much.

Today I am thankful for:

  • A father who has always loved me, flaws and all
  • A father who has taught me so very much
  • A husband who I treasure more each year
  • A husband who is my partner on life’s journey
  • A father who is great with Ian
  • A father and mother who have shown what true love really is
  • A husband who adores his son
  • A husband who loves to spend time with me and our son
  • A father who loves unconditionally
  • A hubby who loves unconditionally

Today I celebrate my hubby and my father and thank the Lord for both of them.  Kirk and Dad, hope you both have terrific days!  Also, Happy United Nations Day.

Flashback Friday – Fall Beauty

fallback1Hi and Happy Friday!  Yesterday was the first day of autumn or fall, my favorite season of the year.  Did you have a good one?  I did, but the weather sure doesn’t feel like fall, at least not yet.

This photo was taken two years ago in North Carolina.  The colors of the leaves was gorgeous.  I don’t know how this year will be since it has been so dry and hot.  We shall see.

Don’t get me wrong I really like the summer and we always have a great time and enjoy the time we have together.  However, fall is when the weather is the best, our routine comes back, and life is very rich with so many great activities.

There are so many things that I like about the fall:

  • Pumpkin Spice lattes
  • The chill in the air
  • Not sweating on our walks home
  • Celebrating my wedding anniversary with my love
  • Celebrating Ian’s birthday
  • Celebrating my parent’s birthdays
  • Celebrating two nephews’ birthdays
  • Celebrating cousins’ birthdays
  • Football games
  • Hot drinks
  • Cozy blankets
  • Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Baking items
  • Campouts and campfires
  • Premieres of favorite shows
  • Amazing smells and scents
  • Lovely reds, brilliant golds and oranges
  • The crunch of leaves
  • Long sleeve shirts and jeans

I wonder what this fall will bring?  I hope it will be cooler weather, fun times with family and friends, and some great food and drinks.  Take care and enjoy!

TBT – Love of Books

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love of books is the best of all.” — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” — Maya Angelou

Hi and Happy Thursday! Here is a photo of a young Ian looking at one of his board books.  This was before he could read.  Once he learned, he was unstoppable and now loves to read.  He wasn’t sure he could learn but did and we are so proud of him.

Speaking of books, I just started reading a book called, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Children’s Book.”  It includes life lessons from notable people from all walks of life. For each of these people, there is a quote from the book that influenced them, the title, person’s name and what that book meant to them.

It is really cool, has a lot of great information, and reminded me of a few of my favorites.  A few featured people are: Jay Leno who liked Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and the inventor of the artificial heart who liked The Wizard of Oz. This book has me thinking of what books have influenced me. There have been many.

I never seem to be without a book.  I love to read and cannot remember a time that I didn’t.  I love to be transported to another world and be immersed in the stories and the character’s lives.  One of my favorite books as a child was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I loved this book and the mystery of that garden and seeing what it meant to the lead character.

I have the book and plan to re-read it soon as an adult.  I wonder if it will have the same allure and amazement to me as a grownup?  I wonder if it will mean as much to me now as it did then?  I cannot wait to find out.  I will share my impressions with you.  I just have to figure out when I want to start on this journey back to my childhood.

A few other favorites from my childhood were:

  • The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • anything and everything by Richard Scarry
  • The Mouse and The Motorcycle
  • The Nancy Drew Mysteries
  • The Hardy Boys Mysteries
  • The Little House on The Prairie Series
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series

Ian has some favorites too.  Some that he has enjoyed are:

  • Good Night Moon (which I must have read 200 times or more to him)
  • The Foot Book and many other Dr. Seuss books
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Star Wars: The Jedi Academy series
  • A Dog’s Life about a stray dog
  • James and The Giant Peach
  • The Warriors series by Erin Hunter, which he just finished

As an adult, I have other books that I have enjoyed reading or that have influenced me:  Roots by Alex Haley, Jemima J by Jane Green, Thunder Dog, as well as books by Danielle Steel, Carol Higgins Clark, Jane Porter, and so many others.

How about you?  What books have meant a lot to you?  I would love to hear from you.  Please share with me and the other readers.  I hope that your children enjoy books as well.

Hope you have a great adventure with your next book.  I know that I will.

Happy August!

August.8-3-16Happy August 3rd! Here it is extremely hot and muggy!  How is it in your world?  Ian is back in school and so far so good.  We go back extremely early but have lots of breaks throughout the year.  It just makes for a very hot beginning of school.

Thank goodness for air conditioning, ice cubes, ice-cold water, and ice cream.  These all help on miserable days.  And on a hot walk home, we are thankful for the shade and breezes that blow.  We are also thankful for a quick rain shower.

Most of July I didn’t write blogs. I hope to do a better job this month.  We had a very busy summer than just flew by. I tried to have down time along with our activities so that is one reason that I didn’t write very much.  And, I am working on new inspiration and what moves me to write.

We had a great summer and had a lot of fun. One evening after running errands, we went to Arby’s and picked up food that we ate at home.  The above photo is Ian’s five-minute fry.  It was the longest that we have seen and took him five minutes to eat.

On this middle of the first week of August, I am thankful for:

  • An amazing summer
  • The excitement of a new school year
  • Library books
  • Play time and down time
  • Seeing friends again
  • Our amazing teachers and school staff
  • My family and friends
  • Prayer support
  • A boy who is excited and amazed to be a third grader
  • Routines and consistency
  • Dinner with my parents and aunt
  • A backpack that Ian wants to use again
  • Food for lunches
  • Special times with siblings
  • New sneakers that Ian helped choose
  • Running errands with Kirk
  • Ice water
  • Ice cold beer with tacos
  • A surprise lunch with a dear friend
  • Photos of friends
  • Hugs with my guys at the end of the day

I wonder if the rest of the month will be as hot as this week?  I imagine it will.  We will do our best to stay cool and will make the best of it.  Happy August!

Throwback Thursday – Happy Boy

TT_7-7-Happy BoyHi and Happy Thursday! Hope you are having a great day.  Here is a photo of Ian at almost 3 years old.  He was standing on the lifeguard stand and watching the sun set into the ocean.  He was extremely happy and having a great time at Mission Beach in California.

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of him.  I love the total glee and happiness that he is expressing.  I love how much he seems to be loving life.  And I love this smile and this boy.  This photo was lightened so his facial expression was visible.

He has always been a happy child and fun to be around.  He has moments of being grouchy or difficult when he is overly tired, hungry, doesn’t want to do something or is sick.  But for the most part, he is content, has plenty to do, and lives in the moment.  He has taught me to do that.  He has also taught me to make the most of each day,

While looking at this photo, I wondered when was the last time that I was this happy?  When did I throw away all of my worries and cares and just be gleeful?  I have laughed recently with family members and friends. I have cracked up at a funny memory or cartoon with Ian or a favorite comedy with Kirk.  But I also have cried over family and friends who are sick, the loss of a loved one, and the terrible things on the news.

I have always loved watching the news and reading newspapers since that has been a life-long passion and vocation for me.  However, more and more it has been hard to tune in without becoming emotional during the broadcast or angry.  I continue to be amazed at what people do to one another.  And, trying to explain that to Ian can be a challenge.

This summer we have been making time for fun and to be in the moment. We have had  time for swimming, watching funny movies, lazy days, ice cream treats, games, library books, walks, and many other fun things.  So far it has been great and a real treasure.  As bad things happen, we talk about them and pray about them as well.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My hubby who I am sharing this life journey with
  • Our son who I love beyond measure
  • Amazing friendships
  • My wonderful family
  • Prayer support from our church, family, and friends
  • Ian’s friends
  • Lego builds
  • Play time
  • Air-conditioning
  • Playing games
  • Books and the ability to read
  • Creativity and making up stories
  • No alarm clocks in the morning

I wonder if I can live in the moment as much as possible with Ian, Kirk, and our family and friends.  I am doing my best to do just that.

Throwback Thursday – Graduation

Jen.1Hi and Happy Thursday. Today is graduation at both the high school and Ian’s school for the fourth grade students.  In honor of that, here is a photo from my graduation — many, many years ago.

I am the one in the large glasses as was the style in the 1980s.  Glasses that covered half of your face and big hair. That was quite popular. I am pictured with my friend Jennifer. We are still friends and still see each other.  She is a lifelong friend.

This summer my graduating class is having a reunion.  I am on the planning committee. My class enjoys getting together and we always have a great time.  It may be unusual but many people always come back for the reunions.  I am blessed and very thankful for that.

Two weeks ago, our nephew on my side graduated from high school.  He like the students graduating tonight is ready for the next chapter of his life. Last night, our nephew on Kirk’s side of the family graduated as well.  I am thrilled for all of them and excited for their opportunities.  God bless and good luck to all of you.

For the fourth graders graduating to middle school, I wish only the best for you.  You have learned a lot at the elementary school and are ready for the next phase in education.  You will be the big kids. God bless you.

Although my graduation was a long time ago, I remember the fun yet also unknown feelings that I experienced.  That summer we went to the beach and had a great visit. I had great times with my grandparents, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, and cousins and I will always cherish those.

It was plenty of play time and I am thankful to my parents for that time. When it was time to go to college, I flew back home by myself, packed the car, and drove up to my college. My parents later checked in with me to be sure I had all that I needed. I sure felt grown up after that experience and that I was ready to be an adult.

A few quotes about graduation:

  • “There is a good reason they call these ceremonies “commencement exercises.”  Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.” ~ Orrin Hatch
  • “The tassel’s worth the hassle!” ~ Author Unknown
  • “You may not know where you’re going, but so long as you spread your wings the winds will carry you.” ~ C. Joy Bell C.
  • “I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” ~ Author Unknown

To the high school graduates, I wish the best for you whether you are going to college, joining the military, starting your career, traveling for a while, or a combination of those.  May you use your wings to pursue your dreams and remember all that you learned and where you came from.

I wonder how I am going to feel when Ian graduates from high school in 10 years?  I imagine I will be both happy and sad.  We have lots of great years between now and then and I plan to enjoy and savor each one.  After all, that time will fly by.

Happy Birthday Dear Dawn!

Patti.Dawn.HB_5-17-2016Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Dawn. Happy Birthday to you! 

Today is my friend Dawn’s 40-something birthday! She is one of my favorite people. I have many wonderful memories of the two of us.

We met at the beginning of our freshman year in college and have been friends ever since.

You know how you sometimes click immediately with people? We did and have stayed close. Sadly, we don’t see each other as much anymore, but we will keep in regular touch. So that is great.

This photo was taken at Dawn’s wedding at a lovely mountain spot. It was a fun day, a small and intimate wedding, and then a great reception.  It was so fun to be a part of this celebration with her.

We have celebrated a lot over the years — each other’s weddings, weddings of friends, vacations, the births of our children, and so much more. And we have comforted one another during losses and deaths.

In Beaches, one character says of the other, my memory of you is very long. Or something like that. That is how it is with my friend Dawn. My life has been richer for having this dear friend.

Hope you have a great day Dawn and lots of fun with your family and friends.  Only wish that I could be there to celebrate with you.

May 9 – Sign

POD_5-9-SignHi and Happy Monday.  Today’s Photo-A-Day challenge is Sign. I found this one at a shop trying to save some money. At least, that is my guess since trying to change the day of the weeks went awry. It seems they found the 8th day of the week. Isn’t that great? Sunurday.

It made me laugh, stop to take a picture, and wish that some weekends we did have a day between Saturday and Sunday. Like this weekend we just finished. It was a good one but very busy with end of school activities, work on the family business, time at home for assorted projects, meals out, and so much more.

Hope you had a great Mother’s Day yesterday.  Mine was good and I would have liked more time to relax.  Oh well, perhaps after Ian goes to bed tonight?!  Isn’t that the way it is?  A mother’s work never seems to be done — even on her special day.

For those with Moms and children, hope you were able to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy that special time together.  For those who have lost their children or mothers, hope you were able to remember them fondly.

A few things I am thankful for today:

  • Signs that I can read and laugh at
  • The ability to read
  • Ian’s excitement about a new library book
  • The start of a new yet busy week
  • Brunch with my hubby, son, and parents
  • A special Lego build from Ian
  • Cards and hugs
  • Dinner out at a restaurant recommended by Ian
  • Relaxing time at home
  • Sleeping in on the weekend
  • Walks home from school
  • Leftovers
  • Time with loved ones

I wonder what other signs I will read this week?  I am sure that there will be plenty.  Have a great week!