Pandemic In The Summer

This summer is weird, isn’t it? We normally see friends and family, go to the beach (most years), eat out at favorite restaurants, have drinks and fun with friends, have treats, attend church services, visit special friends, and are active along with our down time.

This year being part of a pandemic, things are different.  We now wear masks when we go out, on the few occasions that happens. We are only getting food at the grocery store, as take-out or through the drive-thru and making quick trips to the drug store. We aren’t going to church but instead are watching services online. Also, we aren’t seeing very many people.

Life is not totally awful since we are homebodies and always have plenty to keep us busy. Still, the length of time where life has been so different does take its toll. So, we keep in touch with Zoom calls and meetings, textings, phone calls, dinners at home, and seeing neighbors while outside on walks.

We are not going out and doing as much as some of our loved ones and that is by choice. I am trying to keep us healthy and listening to the doctors and medical professionals. We are doing about the same as many of our loved ones. That is good since we are in this together but usually apart.

We are visiting family in North Carolina this summer but have mainly been at the house keeping busy with work. We always visit a few friends but that is not happening this year since they are in the high-risk groups. That is a bummer but we totally understand.

We like shopping at a favorite toy store each year. This time was different since they are booking appointments to have one family shop at a time. Also, masks are required for the entire time in the store. My thanks to them for that option in which I felt safe while shopping. A rare feeling these days.

I have friends and family who are going out and doing a lot more that we are. That is okay for them if they feel comfortable doing so. I, however, do not. At least not yet. As a single parent, I am doing all I can to keep myself and my son healthy. And, I have a few risk factors to keep in mind.

There is so much stress and awfulness happening right now. It is often hard to deal with. I am praying, trying to meditate to calm my mind, exercising, listening to music, reading my Bible and devotionals, trying to get enough sleep, talking with loved ones, and trying to eat well.

Still the doubts, worries, and concerns are there. We all have to do the best we can right now. I just hope and pray that we can help one another and support each other, rather than bringing harm to our loved ones.

With all of the uncertainties in the world, I am thankful for a few things:

  • Remotely watching my nephew’s high school graduation and seeing him receive his diploma. We were there in spirit!!
  • Watching my son build new Lego sets
  • Enjoying my son having time with his grandparents
  • Savoring a favorite meal that we have picked up or prepared
  • Shopping at the grocery store and choosing a delicious tomato
  • Having the option to order food online and then pick it up or have it delivered
  • Finding books at a used bookstore
  • Walks, bike/trike rides, and fresh air
  • Eating an almond strudel from a favorite bakery with a glass of cold milk
  • The anticipation of seeing Hamilton: The Musical online in the next week
  • Dinners with my parents and time to chat with them
  • Seeing loved ones and chatting with them online
  • Laughing with my siblings, cousins, aunt, nieces and nephews, and others during online chats
  • Working at home on a flexible schedule – a real blessing
  • Getting to know our neighbors and their new dog while social distancing outside
  • Listening to my son’s first D&D game online with family – he had a great time
  • Sitting on our front porch in the evening and chatting
  • Laughing with my son during an episode of Psych
  • Chatting for a long time with my son on many topics
  • Hearing about what our loved ones are doing
  • Having time to read a great book or watch a movie

I hope and pray that things will improve soon and the numbers of illness will go down.  I pray that people will be kind to one another and stop judging the wearing of a mask or not. It is not political, but a health care choice that each of us have to make.  At least it shouldn’t be political.

I pray that my loved ones continue to stay healthy. I really want to see them again and give them a hug. Again, not sure when that will be but I am hopeful. I pray that there can be real healing with all of us no matter our race, religion, education, profession, family situation or who we love. I hope and pray that the violence and racism will stop.

I pray that we have peace, respect for one another, and treat each other with kindness.  I pray that we learn from one another and listen to each other. I pray that our differences stop being hindrances and stop causing problems. I pray that we take care of one another and build one another up.  I pray that we always, always love.

Throwback Thursday – Last Summer’s Vacation and Blog

Hi and Happy Throwback Thursday. I thought it would be fun to write about the beach on this day when it so cold in much of the country. Last summer I wrote about not having a beach body for our family vacation to San Diego. You can find the link here: https://patticates247.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/beach-body-not-this-year/

Turns out I am so glad that I enjoyed myself and that we took lots of pictures — both with makeup on and without.  Little did I know then that this would be the last time the three of us would have a beach vacation together.

I cherished it as I always do when going to this favorite beach location.  I have been going my entire life so there are memories of many loved ones. Sadly, we have lost quite of a few of these precious loved ones. I keep them alive in my thoughts, memories, photos, and discussions with friends and family.

We had several meals out with other family and a few for just us.  We laughed, we talked, and we so enjoyed each other’s company.  We went to Legoland with my dad and had a blast.  Ian then worked on a special Lego build and loved it. Kirk watched Ian play chess with Cody at the beach.  We had fun getting our feet wet in the surf and had lots of walks along the sand.

We also had the pleasure of watching Ian learn to ride a bike and Kirk and my dad rode along with him.  I have photos and video of that.  We enjoyed meals at the front porch table with my mom, siblings, and other family, sunsets, singing and time with family, special friends, lots of hugs and laughs, and precious time together.  All of this time is now bittersweet and something that I am so glad that we did.

I didn’t like how I looked in every picture but you know what, I cannot imagine not having pictures of me with my two best guys.  So when I am sad and missing my love like crazy, I can pull out these photos and be comforted by this special time we had together.

During the summer, we also celebrated Kirk’s birthday, his dad’s birthday, other relative’s birthdays, and it was the summer of Harry Potter when Ian discovered these wonderful books.  I too enjoyed them very much.

We also enjoyed catching up with old friends who we hadn’t seen for years, seeing the birth of a new family member, shopping trips, new books, long walks, times to swim, cookouts, and fireworks.  We worked and had adventures with new families and students.  We also enjoyed a few special movies together, such as I Can Only Imagine.

We had a busy summer.  I will cherish it always.  The three of us loved each other so very much.  We two who are left truly miss our loved one.  Things are not the same without him but we try each day to carry on.  We encourage you to spend special time with your loved ones, take that vacation, and enjoy and savor every minute you share.  After all, we never know when life will totally change.

Throwback Thursday – Summer!

TBT_6-23-2016Hi and Happy Thursday. Are you having a great summer? We are!  So far, so good.  We are about to finish our third week of summer and are having a wonderful time. This photo was taken of Ian in Fort Pierce, Florida many years ago.

When he was this age, his pacifier was a constant for him. This was one of the first times that he got to walk on the sand, or should I say run. He loved it. He still does love it. Sadly we won’t be going to the beach this summer, but have plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Last night, we went to my parent’s house for swimming and dinner. They have a neighborhood pool that we enjoyed. It was a very hot day so the water was perfectly cool and fun. After swimming, we went back to their house and had a great dinner and dessert and plenty of laughs. It was great.

Tonight is game night and homemade pizza at our house. My parents are coming over for that, which will also be fun. Big decision of the evening will be, do we play The Game of Life or Star Wars Monopoly or both?  Perhaps Dominos or the card game Pounce? We will see what Ian and everyone else feel like.

Life with no alarm clocks or set schedules is very nice this time of year. And, since I work at home, I can be flexible enough to start later in the morning or wear my pajamas. How great is that? It’s the little things that become the big blessings, isn’t it?!

Our summer started with a trip to North Carolina which was great. That was for both work and play. We had time to visit family, take a few walks, enjoyed dinner out with friends, and bought cookies and almond strudel at a wonderful bakery, and frozen yogurt treats. Also, I bought a new coloring book (yes I do like coloring), and Ian got a new Lego set. I helped him build it and we took several pictures.

June has been good so far and July should be as well. Next month we will go back to North Carolina, have a chance to visit some friends, may attend a baseball game, and I will have a high school reunion. I have great classmates who are always fun to see.  Cannot wait.

I love all of the memories we are making this summer with Ian. Each day has something fun. Whether it’s spending the day with messy hair and clothes to swimming to reading a library book to watching a favorite cartoon, we are enjoying our time together.

In addition to all of our fun, we are thinking of and praying for those suffering and struggling. We are talking with Ian about what can be done to help others and reminding him to always love others and be respectful. Also, we encourage him to ask questions that he has and we discuss those. With so much going on in the world, there is much to learn.

I wonder what other adventures the summer will bring?  I cannot wait to find out. Hope you also have a great summer!  Enjoy.

Throwback Thursday — Summer Memories

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Hi and Happy Thursday!  It is hard to believe that today is the 3rd day of September.  We are almost finished with our 5th week of school.  Wow, time flies by.  This summer seems but a memory now.  We had a great time and made some fabulous memories.

Our summer went by so quickly and was just nine weeks.  Not enough time in my opinion since I always want more summer and more down time and more time without our usual schedule.  But, then again, would it be as special and magical if it went on and on?  Something to think about.

This photo is from a few summers ago.  Ian was having a great time playing at the beach.  He loves it as much now as then.  He likes to do some things on his own and also play with his cousins.  It was great family time and lots of it.  We had that many other years as well and are so very fortunate.

So many summer memories are precious and ones that I love.  My favorite place to spend the summer is at the beach in San Diego, California.  The weather is usually just right.  There is very little humidity and it is cool at night.  That is what I grew up with and now what Ian is growing up with.

Soon it will be fall/autumn.  That is my favorite season in both Tennessee and North Carolina.  I love all things fall.  For now though, I am enjoying my wonderful summer memories.  Hope you have them as well.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • Seeing cousins this summer after several years
  • Catching up with dear friends who I hadn’t seen in a few years
  • Walks at the beach and back and forth to our motel
  • Fish tacos on the beach house porch
  • Healing from an injury from the beach trip
  • The ocean waves and breezes
  • A house that has been in my family for generations
  • Memories of ice cream treats
  • Sharing so many special times with my hubby and son
  • Sunsets and photo opportunities
  • Family bonding time
  • Laughter and singing with family and friends
  • Celebrations
  • Two parties for my parents’ 50th anniversary
  • Another wonderful summer

I wonder what our next summer will bring?  I am sure it will also be fun.  Until then, I will enjoy the fall, winter, and spring.

Summertime!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADon’t you just love the summer?  I sure do.  We have been quite busy this month and so I haven’t been able to write as much.  A lot is going on each day, so time for the computer can be a challenge.

I miss the writing, but I am having a lot of fun with long conversations with Ian, having time for work and play, staying up later than we normally do, and having time to relax.

This picture was taken a few years ago of Ian at the beach.  He was playing in Mission Bay and having a great time!

Here are a few thoughts and quotes about the summer.  Enjoy!  I will try to post more regularly very soon.

Summer to me is:

  • Lazy mornings
  • Bare feet in the sand and surf
  • An ice cream treat on a hot day
  • Playing games for hours
  • Reading one book after the other
  • Long walks
  • Lots of laughs and fun times
  • Long conversations with friends and family
  • Heat and humidity in the south
  • Cool weather in Southern California
  • The Beach Boys music and other beachy music
  • Playing with Ian
  • Listening to Ian talk about his favorite Lego build
  • The sun not setting until almost 10 p.m.
  • Swimming at the pool and ocean

A few quotes about summer:

  • “The tans will fade but the memories will last forever.” — Unknown
  • “It’s a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it’s light out.” — Bill Watterson
  • “The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” — Wallace Stevens
  • “In summer, the song sings itself.” — William Carlos Williams
  • “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” — Sam Keen
  • “Hey! It’s summer! Be free and happy and danceful and uninhibited and now-y!” — Terri Guillemets
  • “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James
  • “Every summer has its own story.” — Unknown
  • “Summer — Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better.” — Unknown

I wonder what the rest of the summer will bring?  I imagine a lot of fun and a trip to the beach.  Can’t wait!  Have a great one!!!

Let The Summer Begin!

Nothing says summer like the ocean and the beach!

Nothing says summer like the ocean and the beach!

Although the calendar doesn’t say it is summer yet, we are starting our summer today.  Ian’s last day of school was yesterday, so let the summer begin!  Have you started your summer?

As I picked him up for one last walk home, one of the teachers said school starts back the first week of August.  Sheesh, we are just starting the summer break and we get reminded of when we start again.  I am ready to enjoy some down time and less structured days.

So we have approximately nine weeks of summer.  We plan to enjoy each and every one of those weeks!  We will then be ready for 2nd grade.  It seems that summers were longer when I was in school.  Then again, we didn’t have a week or two of fall break either.

This morning I had hoped to sleep in.  However, as anyone with young kids knows, that is a hard wish to have come true.  At 7:15 a.m., I heard, “Mom, are you ready to get up?”  “No Ian, not yet,” I responded and then tried to go back to sleep.

Then at 7:30 a.m., “Mom, are you getting up now?”  “No! I don’t want to get up this early. Why don’t you go play?,” I asked, trying not to be annoyed.  And off he went.

Next time I looked at the clock it was 8:15 a.m.  I woke up and was thankful that he was happy to play by himself during those 45 minutes.  I feel blessed and well rested.  I finally got out of bed at 8:30 a.m.

Funny that before being married and having kids I could sleep until almost noon, if I had been out late the night before.  Now, 8 a.m. is sleeping in.  Amazing how life changes, isn’t it?!  We had a lazy few hours after waking up.

Then we ate breakfast at 10 a.m. and have been busy ever since.  We have been doing laundry, some work for the family business, reading, and watching some TV.  Ian has been busy with Lego builds, reading his library books, and now is on the computer.

And, he has been telling me a lot about Mine craft and different Lego themes.  He knows a lot and has much to say.  It is fun hearing about things he is interested in.

Today we will more than likely stay in our pajamas, which I enjoy doing every once in a while. So, our first day of summer is exactly what I wanted — lazy and time to do various things at home.

This summer we will have more lazy days, take a few trips to North Carolina and one trip to California, swim, eat ice cream, take walks and bike rides, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, work, read books, have lots of play time, and enjoy lots of other things.

I wonder what fun our summer will bring?  I can’t wait to find out.  Have a great one!

Throwback Thursday – Summer Fun

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Throwback Thursday.  Since summer is winding down, I thought it would be fun to post an old photo of my son with my dad at the beach.  This was taken in July 2010, so Ian was a few months away from turning 3 years old.

I love how dad is showing Ian the fun of the ocean waves on your toes. And the feel of wet sand, and the importance of holding hands so you don’t fall over.

Four generations of my family have enjoyed this beach and I just love that.  There is much history there and many amazing memories.  I am so blessed to have gone there as a child and now to be able to take my child. It has also been fun to be there with my husband.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Summers spent at our family’s beach house
  • Toes in the sand
  • Feeling the water on our toes and legs
  • Spending time with parents and grandparents during the summer
  • Small feet that have grown quite a bit
  • Many years of fun memories
  • A chance to have four generations at the beach a few summers ago — something I will never forget
  • Our smooth transition from summer to school
  • A family who I love dearly and who love me
  • Friends who make me laugh and help me smile
  • Prayer support

I wonder what other fun things we will do before summer officially ends on September 23?  I look forward to finding out.  And, I also am looking forward to the fall/autumn season.

Throwback Thursday – Summer Fun

Ian.bay.readyHi and Happy Thursday.  Hope you are having a great last day of July! Today is unusually cool and will be rainy.  Odd for July weather.  It’s normally hot, humid and very dry, but not this year.

For today’s picture, I decided on a photo of Ian from 2009, when he wasn’t quite two years old.  This was his second trip to San Diego.  This photo is of my little sea monster coming out of the bay.

Some friends of ours let us borrow the wet suit, which was way too big.  And, we had the life jacket on top to help him while in the water.  He had a hard time moving around but still had fun.

He has grown a lot since then and is now more comfortable in the water.  He loves to swim in pools and likes getting his feet wet in the ocean.  Next time we are in San Diego, we will have to try this bay again.  It is so nice and calm for swimming.

This week we have found several fun things to do as our summer winds down. These things include:

  • Ian and his friend playing mini-golf
  • Dinner out with friends
  • Ice cream cones
  • A birthday party
  • Watching Paw Patrol
  • Being amazed at Ian’s Lego creations
  • Enjoying a leftover dinner of noodles, meat, and soy sauce that Ian said was delicious
  • Reading
  • Watching a baseball game and cheering for our team
  • Ian putting on his helmet and riding his bike

This coming weekend we look forward to time to swim and more time to relax.  Should be a fun one, but then again, I think it’s supposed to be raining.  Oh well, we can figure out what to do inside.

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

Two More Weeks of Summer

Summer.7-28-2-14It is hard to believe that two weeks from today, school will start back for Ian.  My the summer has flown by. But it’s not over yet!  So, we will have to see what other fun things we can get into.  We certainly did a variety of fun things this weekend, along with some work.

This photo is from last month when we went to Cypress Gardens.  I love the pink color amongst all of the green and the water. That was such a calming place and lovely.

Over the weekend, we went shopping for books and a microscope for Ian.  We also went to buy a new backpack for Ian for school and some new tennis shoes.  Then we went for a yummy lunch at the Olive Garden.  And, later we had a relaxing evening.

For several days, we watched the San Diego Padres in action — first against the Chicago Cubs and then the Atlanta Braves.  I prefer going to a ballpark but it was just as fun watching on television. They won two of the games and lost two.

We also watched “Heaven is For Real.”  That was a very good movie and touching.  It makes you stop and think about your faith.  Anyone else seen it?  I would love some thoughts on that.

Ian spent Sunday afternoon reading his new books and going outside to find things to look at through his microscope.  At one point he was ready for a snack and said, “I am a hungry scientist.”

After that we went to play mini-golf with some friends and then out for dinner.  We had a great visit and a lot of fun.  None of us did very well but we had a great time.  Ian and his buddy were helping each other throughout the course.

Now with two weeks left of summer, we have to decide what else we will be doing.  I think there will be swimming, maybe a trip to a museum, a baseball game, and time to ride Ian’s bike, and take walks.

Ian will be starting his 1st grade year.  I think he is excited to get back to school since he really likes it.  For that I am thankful.  I, on the other hand, can’t believe he is almost a first grader.  The first year went so fast and I expect this one to as well.

Soon it will be back to the alarm clock going off, packing lunches, walking to and from school (when the weather is nice), homework and school projects, and earlier bed times.

For now and the next two weeks though, we will still enjoy making pancakes and bacon during the week.  There is never enough time during the school year to do this in the morning before we have to leave.  Instead it’s just on the weekend. So that is a fun summer treat.

We will also enjoy time to read together, have Ian watch his favorite cartoons in the morning, color and draw, make up stories, play, have computer time, and enjoy ice cream treats.

The routine and pace of summer is so different than the school year.  We have enjoyed it and will between now and when school starts.

I wonder what fun end of the summer adventures we will have this week and next?  I cannot wait to find out.

Sweet Tea and Summer

iced.teaIn the movie, Steel Magnolias, sweet tea is named the house wine of the south.  I have to agree.

Here in the south, most of us like our tea sweet with plenty of ice.  Some like lemon with it and some don’t.  Other parts of the country look at you funny when you order sweet tea or iced tea at a restaurant.

In my opinion, the best sweet tea is when the sugar is added when the water is still hot — just after brewing.  If you wait until it’s cold, it just doesn’t mix very well.

My friend Dawn really likes sweet tea and regularly drinks it.  My husband does as well.  I like my sweet tea mixed with some unsweet tea as it is often too sweet for me.  And, I like lots of ice.

Imagine my delight when I realized that the town of Summerville, South Carolina, which we recently visited,  is the birthplace of Sweet Tea. I made a note to be sure and tell Dawn about this.

According to an article in Charleston’s newspaper, The Post and Courier, a receipt from 1890 indicated that this was the location of the first sweet tea.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

“For some years, the Southern beverage was thought to have happened onto the scene in St. Louis at The World’s Fair in 1904.

“But those ideas changed with the discovery of a long list of items purchased for a reunion of old soldiers near Summerville in 1890.

“Among the provisions of bread, beans, and beef were these specific commodities: 600 pounds of sugar and 880 gallons of iced tea. These folks were already enjoying the Southern beverage of choice a full 14 years before anybody at the World’s Fair had even considered dropping some ice into a glass of tea.”

The article also states that the City of Summerville was approved for a trademark to call itself the birthplace of sweet tea.  Cool!  (pun intended)

According to a Charleston travel magazine, “The tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) arrived in Summerville in the late 1700s imported by Andre Michaux, a French explorer and botanist. In 1888, Dr. Charles Shepard was the first to successfully propagate and produce tea for consumption when he acquired 600 acres in Summerville and established the Pinehurst Tea Plantation. Dr. Shepard produced award-winning teas until his death in 1915.”

The tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) arrived in Summerville in the late 1700s imported by Andre Michaux, a French explorer and botanist. In 1888, Dr. Charles Shepard was the first to successfully propagate and produce tea for consumption when he acquired 600 acres in Summerville and established the Pinehurst Tea Plantation. Dr. Shepard produced award-winning teas until his death in 1915. – See more at: http://travelerofcharleston.com/blog/summerville-tastes-like-sweet-tea/#sthash.DwbbY7m4.dpuf

There is nothing like a glass of sweet tea – served over lots of ice — especially in the summer.  AHHH!

To me, here is summer:

  • Bare feet
  • Playing in the sprinkler
  • Sand in my toes
  • Lightning bugs
  • Late nights
  • Lazy mornings
  • Making pancakes on a weekday
  • Playing a game of chess with Ian
  • Reading books anytime
  • Swimming in the pool
  • Watermelon dripping down your hands
  • Corn cooked on a grill
  • Walks with my hubby and son
  • Cookouts
  • Fireworks
  • S’mores
  • A tall glass of sweet iced tea

I wonder when my next glass of sweet tea will be?  Probably at lunch!  Take care and have a great day!

The tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) arrived in Summerville in the late 1700s imported by Andre Michaux, a French explorer and botanist. In 1888, Dr. Charles Shepard was the first to successfully propagate and produce tea for consumption when he acquired 600 acres in Summerville and established the Pinehurst Tea Plantation. Dr. Shepard produced award-winning teas until his death in 1915. – See more at: http://travelerofcharleston.com/blog/summerville-tastes-like-sweet-tea/#sthash.DwbbY7m4.dpuf