Throwback Thursday — Almost Summer

Hi and Happy Thursday!  I cannot believe that it is almost the end of May.  Where has this month gone?  I also can’t believe that I have only written one other time this month.  Sheesh!  Things have been so busy with the family business, PTO activities, end of the school year stuff, being sick, family times, and so much more.

We did have a great start of the month with a fun trip to a baseball game, a school concert, a lovely lunch out for mother’s day, and then I became ill with sinus issues.  This year the pollen has been awful and it finally got me after extra time outside.  Not smart but we sure did have fun.

I included this photo today since it is such a special one of me, my mother, and grandmother.  Three gals in our bikinis.  Summer memories indeed.  This photo is a treasure.  I love the three of us walking hand in hand.  I had so much fun and learned so much from these two amazing women.

And, this week, I am glad that it is almost summer.  We are ready for a break in our routine and for some extra time to relax.  How about you?  We are not going to the beach this summer, but we do plan to have fun.  We will take a few trips, go swimming, sign up for our library’s summer reading program, see some movies, take walks, eat ice cream, play games, stay in our pajamas all day (some days), go to a few favorite restaurants, visit a book store, and more.

For now we are counting down our days.  It is hard to believe that third grade is almost finished.  My the year has flown.  Here are a few things I am thankful for today:

  • My mother and grandmother
  • All of the amazing mothers I know
  • My friends who aren’t mothers
  • The gift of being a mother
  • Weekend fun times with my hubby and son
  • Special meals out with family and friends
  • Hearing Ian sing a solo during a school concert
  • Baseball game with my parents, hubby, and son
  • Ice cream treats
  • Singing along to The Hamilton soundtrack with Ian
  • Old family photos
  • Escaping in the world of a favorite library book
  • Our library’s summer reading program

I wonder if we will remember to savor these last days of school before summer begins.  I will try to do just that.  Hope you can as well!

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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!

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.

Flashback Friday – Bare Feet

3.kids.Michigan0001Hi and happy Friday!  For today’s Flashback Friday, I decided to post a photo of my sister, my brother, and me with our bare feet on a sand dune circa late 1970s / early 1980s.

I like our big grins, bare feet, and hands in the sand. With all of the cold weather this week, this photo made me happy. And warm.  I also like our striped shirts, the patches on my jeans, and that all of our jeans are riding up as we sit in the nice warm sand.

This particular trip was somewhere in Michigan at the dunes.  We enjoyed them and were fascinated with this different sand than we were used to.

This photo was taken while we were visiting friends and family.  We had a great time.  During this trip we also went to a plant where they packaged cereal.  I still vividly remember recreating the process in our friend’s basement after seeing the professionals at work.

I have many fond memories of growing up with these two.  Our parents were great about taking us to a variety of towns and cities throughout the country.  We also enjoyed many camping trips.  I am at left in the photo, Cindy is in the middle, and Richmond is on the right.

I am thankful for:

  • Camping trips with my parents and siblings
  • Family adventures
  • Food cooked over a camp fire
  • Playing cards with the family
  • Singing our favorite camp songs after eating s’mores
  • Cassette tapes that played during long car trips
  • Seeing these dunes for the first time on this trip
  • Crossing the border into Canada for dinner
  • Old and grainy photos
  • Scanners for old photos
  • Bonfires on the beach
  • Running around after sunset
  • My wonderful and amazing family

I wonder what the next adventures will be with my sister and brother and with our parents?  I cannot wait to find out and love that our spouses and children will be there to enjoy the adventures with us!  Three generations will be even more fun!

Flashback Friday – Cousins At The Beach

Nov7_2014_FF.beachHi and Happy Friday.  It is hard to believe that it’s the first Friday of November already.  This year has flown by!  Since I missed Throwback Thursday yesterday, I decided to post my photo today.

It is of Ian and his cousin Aiden a few years ago at the beach.  They were walking and talking and having a great time. They were in front of the lifeguard tower in the background on the left.  I like the shadows too and that they are in action.

These are two of my parent’s five grandchildren.  On Kirk’s side of the family, there are 10 including Ian and now some great-grandkids.  Ian also has second cousins who we regularly along with his first cousins.  I too have a lot of cousins — 14 first cousins and even more second cousins.

I remember many years of fun at the beach with my cousins and now I am glad that Ian has that with his cousins too.  Our cousins are dear and precious friends and we love them dearly.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Boys enjoying walks in the sand
  • Cousins who have a blast together
  • Cousins who often get together
  • Small toes in the sand
  • Walks with loved ones
  • Weekend fun and adventure
  • Heaters and blankets as the weather gets cooler
  • A windy walk home from school yesterday with Ian

I wonder when we will be at the beach again with our cousins?  I am hoping next summer!  Should be fun, as always!!

Family Love and Memories

img116Yesterday, I watched two DVDs of my grandfather’s 80th birthday party.  One DVD included his stories and some songs and the other included memories of him and toasts.

We celebrated his 80th in 1988.  Hard to believe it was that long ago now. It was amazing to see all of us circa 26 years ago.  So much has changed since then.

In this video, I saw my grandpa (inspiration for this blog), my grandma, Grandma’s maid-of-honor and family friend Evie, our family friend Wayne, who was like a second grandfather, and his amazing wife Rett.

They have all passed away and were fascinating people.  I was enriched for having known all of them.  Evie was a pilot and had great stories to tell, Wayne was a fireman, and Rett was Grams’ best friend.  The fact that all of them lived such long and amazing lives is wonderful!

This photo was taken a few years after this birthday celebration in the same room where the video was recorded.  I spent a lot of time in this room through the years and loved it.  The turquoise walls, Grandma and Grandpa’s chairs, their piano, artwork, and knickknacks make me smile.

I also noticed that some important people who are now in the family weren’t back then.  Many loved ones have joined our family through marriage and births.  It is amazing to think that my grandparents now have 18 great-grandchildren, if I haven’t left anyone out. The family love has continued to grow!!

As I watched this DVD, my eyes welled up with tears as Grandpa told stories of Willie, and several other characters that he made up.  It was such a gift to again hear his voice as I remember and the lines that each story would end with.  It took me back to my childhood and all of the fun times we had as a family.

As I have written about, each Willie story would end with his scratching his head and saying, “I still wonder where rainbows come from.” The entire family would always say it with Grandpa.  Chills to see and hear that again!

The family singing was magical.  My amazing Aunt Linda can play almost anything on the piano without music, and often transposes the key as needed.  She did this on the DVD.  All of us in the family sang along to a song wishing a special birthday to Grandpa, also to a song that Mom had written about the family for Grandpa’s and Grandma’s anniversary, and several favorite show tunes.  As I watched the singing, I sang along again.

It was wonderful to be back in the family cocoon.  Kirk and Ian watched it with me and asked about the people there.  Ian was amazed to see his grandparents and his mother looking 26 years younger.  “Wow, Mom, is that you?” he asked.  “Yes, Ian. It sure is,” I told him.

I was so happy to watch these old videos of how I remember my grandparents and their house looking.  To see it again and all of those people whom I love so much was an amazing treasure.  So many happy tears and happy memories.

It has been a few years since I have seen my cousins and aunts and uncles.  We are planning a family reunion for next summer and I cannot wait!  It  is great that the fourth generation of our family loves to be together as much as the rest of us.

I wonder what amazing memories will be made and recorded at this next gathering?  I am sure there will be many and I am so looking forward to it.

Fall Wedding At Farm

fall.wedding.2

A few weeks ago, we went to my son-in-law’s wedding.  It was lovely and a fun weekend for our family.

He was the ring bearer in our wedding so it was very special seeing him get married.  It is hard to believe that he is old enough to be a newlywed but the time has moved on quickly and he has grown into a fine young man. His bride is a fine young lady.

Their wedding was at a farm in rural Tennessee and was a gorgeous and very calm setting.  Here are some of the photos that I took of the scenery. Fall.Wedding.6 Fall.wedding.3 fall.wedding.4 fall.wedding1 fall.wedding5

It was a great time for friends and family with a lovely service, great meal, fun dancing, and all of the traditions that one sees in a wedding.

I wish J & B well!  Love you both very much!!

I wonder when I will be able to go back to that pretty farm?  I am not sure if I will, but I have some lovely memories.

September 24 – Loud

Sept.24_POD_LoudToday’s photo challenge is Loud.  I decided to include an old picture of my family.  We are loud, boisterous, silly, theatrical, and fun.  This photo is from the early 1990s.

Come to think of it, both the 1980s and 1990s were loud — with the music, clothing, and hairdos.  And, I loved it!  That was the era that I grew up in, graduated from high school, went to college, earned my degree, and then started my first job.

Many years ago, Saturday Night Live did a sketch called The Loud Family.  We called them “The Louds.”  This family would yell at each other at the dinner table.  My family mimicked that a few times and it was so funny.

I don’t think we meant to be loud, but all of us are passionate and have good lungs, so our voices carry.  That and plenty of singing and theater experience has helped all of us to project our voices.

Now, Ian is carrying on our fine family tradition.  He often has a loud voice and loves to talk and play. I think he too will have time in his life on a stage.

I love my original family and all of our fun times we have had together over the years.  My parents, sister, and brother are my favorite people.  Now all of us kids are married and have kids.

Dinners together were always important growing up and still are to all of us.  Now, we have all of the kids, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles and others to join in the fun.

I wonder when I will get to be loud again with my goofy family?  I sure hope it’s soon!  Love you all.

Independence Day

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” July 4, 1776

Aren’t these words great?  I certainly think so.   These amazing words are from the Declaration of Independence.  Some of the men who signed it were John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

Today, many Americans will celebrate with cookouts, trips to the pool or beach, parades, time with family, patriotic music, and fireworks.  It is a fun day with family and friends and great to celebrate the birth of the United States.

In celebration of this land with freedoms unlike many other places, I am reminded to thank those who have made it possible:

  • Thanks to all of the Veterans who have fought in wars for our freedom and country’s protection
  • Thanks to the active servicemen and women who continue to fight for our freedom
  • Thanks to our reservists who are willing to go when duty calls
  • Thanks to the families of our military and all that they sacrifice
  • Thanks to the many who have been seriously injured or died in protection of our country
  • Thanks to the POWs who suffered more than I can imagine in protection of our freedoms
  • Thanks to all who sign up to serve and continue to protect this amazing nation

As the quotes goes, freedom is never free.  The brave men and women of our military and their families know that is true.

FlagsA few quotes about Independence Day:

  • “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”  ~Elmer Davis
  • “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.” ~Louis D. Brandeis
  • “If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.” ~Hamilton Fish
  • “I love my freedom. I love my America.” ~Jessi Lane Adams
  • “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And, I’ll gladly stand up next to you to defend her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God Bless the USA.”  ~Lee Greenwood

May you have a blessed day celebrating our freedom!!!

June 3 – Family

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s photo challenge is Family.  Here is a selfie or should I say ussie of my family and me that I took recently.  We were having a fun day.

I have been blessed with a great family.  The family I grew up with, my husband’s family, and now our family with our son are all a blessing.

I have a circle of dear friends who are also my family.  Many of them I don’t get to see as much as I’d like to, but when we are together, we always have fun.

I love the family I grew up with – my parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  From my family, I learned all about love, humor, laughter, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and consideration of others.

I love that although many of us are different, we have found a way to get along and have fun together.  That is rare and an amazing blessing.

With my family, I have always felt loved, appreciated, and valued. My family is so very precious to me.  I am truly honored to be a part of these people’s lives and for them to be a part of mine.

A few quotes about family:

  • “I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.” ~ Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford
  • “Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.” ~ Ogden Nash
  • “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

I look forward to family time this summer and many fun memories that we will make.  I wonder how soon we will have that time?  I hope it is very soon.