A Quick Summer

I don’t know about you but we had a quick summer.  We had fun, we traveled, we enjoyed some time at home, we enjoyed having time to read several good books, we took lots of walks or rode bikes, and we spent time with many friends and family — both on my side and Kirk’s side.

Now, we are back home winding it down.  After a lot of time with a lot of people, it is a odd to be back home again with just the two of us.  Kirk’s absence is always felt more when we are here since we enjoyed so much time with him.  So, our days have some sadness along with the happiness.

We had three two-week trips and each one had special times and moments. The first trip was in North Carolina and was primarly for work.  We enjoyed seeing clients, working with them and their students, as well as some fun and down time.  Ian was given a new Lego set to build and had a great time with that.

We also had time to visit our favorite used bookstore, toy store, bakery, and frozen yogurt shop.  We had several meals out and many long chats and watched a few favorite shows.  Ian also discovered some new vegetarian foods that he likes.

After that we went to Kentucky to work with the second generation of a family that Kirk used to work with and several other families who knew him for a while. It was nice to talk with them about him and how great he was with their kids.  We also visted the Creation Museum which was quite something.  Our hotel was very nice and we were able to enjoy several great meals.

Our third trip was to San Diego and it was fabulous. We had time with friends and family, lots of hugs, some tears, some laughter, great food, lovely sunsets, cool weather, a trip to the mountains, and beach time.

This beach is one that I have been going to since I was a baby.  I have decades of fond memories both from my childhood and from when Kirk and I took Ian.  My memory is very long of this magical place that feels like Brigadoon.

We went to a baseball game and that was a blast.  It was Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres.  The home team didn’t win but it was still fun.  It was Ian’s first time to a major league ball park and he enjoyed it very much.

All in all it was a great summer with a lot of fun memories made and photos taken.  Still, it is odd to think of our twosome, instead of the family of three that we used to be.  We so wish he could have been with us.  We celebrated him and felt his presence on a few occasions.

This summer, for the first time after his passing, we celebrated Kirk’s birthday.  It was odd celebrating it without him.  Last year, we had a big meal, we sang happy birthday to him, he blew out the candles and we ate a delicious cake with ice cream.  This year, we went out to eat at the Corvette Diner in his honor.

The food was great, the company superb, the arcade games fun, and we sang again in his honor.  It was bittersweet but so very special.  I loved that my family and friends made a point to honor him in such a fun way.  The place was quite loud but Kirk would have loved it.

Now, we are trying to get back to our routine and soon school will start.  I will soon have a lot of alone time.  I am trying to prep myself for that now.  Sometimes, it is good since I can cry or yell if needed.  And trust me, there are such days that I need.  Other times, it is hard and sad and painful.  But, I continue to try each day.

Over the summer, I received some lovely compliments from my loved ones that meant a lot.  One was that I am strong.  Another that I am a rock for my son.  I try to be both but do have my moments when I feel weak or that I am failing him.  I continue to try my best and provide as Kirk and I wanted for us and our son.

And I am trying to realize that I can only do so much.  So, I choose what needs to be done each day and go for it.  Some days are productive, some days are wonderful, some days are melancholy.  Then, when tomorrow comes, I can do more and hope that it all gets accomplished in the end.

May we have a blessed rest of the summer — however long that may be.  If you are grieving, may you be comforted.  May we realize that we cannot do everything and that is okay.  Let’s do what we can.  May we have those who are there with us in the good and bad times.  And, may we always, always love.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarch 17 is the day to wear green so you don’t get pinched.  It is the day of green food and shamrocks and the day to celebrate all things Irish.

It is the day to enjoy corned beef and cabbage or Irish Stew. It is the day to have a green beer and have a party with friends and family.  It is a day for celebration and fun.

Hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!  May the luck of the Irish be yours today!

This photo is of Ian from a St. Patrick’s Day parade that we went to in 2009.  He enjoyed the festivities and all of the green.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHere is one of my favorite Irish blessings in honor of today.

  • May the road rise up to meet you
  • May the wind be always at your back
  • May the sunshine warm upon your face
  • The rain fall soft upon your fields
  • And until we meet again
  • May God hold you in the palm of His Hand.

And here is a Wish For A Friend:

  • Wishing you a rainbow
  • For sunlight after showers—
  • Miles and miles of Irish smiles
  • For golden happy hours—
  • Shamrocks at your doorway
  • For luck and laughter too,
  • And a host of friends that never ends
  • Each day your whole life through!

And an Old Irish Blessing:

  • May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
  • May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
  • May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
  • May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

Hope you have a fun and blessed day!

Enough Already!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and happy Tuesday.  Today is our 7th snow day.  I cannot believe it and don’t remember the last time it was like this.  Needless to say, I am beyond over it as many of my friends and family are.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThe top picture was my driveway yesterday and the street behind it.  Part of both were cleared off and it was great.  But now, again it is covered in snow.  The road is also mainly covered and starting to turn into slush where people have been driving.  I will have to get out to shovel again but am trying to wait for it to warm up just a little bit.  Not happened yet, but hopefully soon. This second picture is of the yard today.  Pretty, but we are over it.

This week we have dealt with no heat, no hot water, a gutter than has been frozen, then leaking and separating (all the same gutter thank goodness), and the replacement of our gas regulator, which froze up.  Thankfully none of these problems have been very serious or lasted very long.  I have been very impressed with our city utilities and public works and their quick response.  They have kept us from being frozen and miserable. They are working very hard in the crazy elements.  I truly do appreciate each and every one of them.

Despite all of this, there is much to be thankful for.  We have had power remain on.  Thank goodness for underground utilities.  I realize at any time this can change and that does make me nervous but I try not to think about it.  We have Internet access and phones to stay in touch with the outside world.  For the most part, our satellite TV has worked.  I hope and pray that all of these continue as I have no idea how much longer it will be until life is back to normal.

I am also thankful that on Friday we were able to get out and buy too much at the store!  And Sunday, my parents came over for a visit and some help around the house.  Thankfully they made it back home safely before this latest wave came through.  Ian has been a good sport about this despite wanting to go back to school and I am thankful for that as well. In addition, I am thankful that I do part-time work at home. The fact we haven’t had to try to get out each day is such a relief and major blessing!!

A few things I am looking forward to:

  • Seeing green grass again
  • Driving on the road safely without ice or snow
  • Seeing friends and family
  • Going out and doing things
  • Going to Cub Scout meetings again
  • Going to church and singing
  • Having Ian go back to school and seeing his friends and teachers
  • Temperatures above freezing
  • Sunny days when everything has melted
  • Warm breezes
  • Rainy days instead of snow days

I wonder when life will return to normal?  I hope that it is soon.  In the meantime, we are staying busy at home and hoping and praying that everything keeps working!  God Bless!!

December Blessings

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAIt is hard to believe that it is the first day of December.  The first day of the last month of the year.  Wow, where did the time go? I love December 1st since it is my birthday.  It is and has been a very special day for me for many, many years.  My family makes a big deal out of birthdays and I love that.  We take time to celebrate each of us and our uniqueness.

Today, I feel overwhelmed with blessings!  From my fabulous weekend of love, family, thanksgiving, and great food.  We had a blast on turkey day with friends and family, ate terrific food, took some wonderful family photos, and watched one of the funniest movies ever — Clue.  There are so many great one-liners.  I just wish I had taken more pictures with my camera!

Then on Friday, Kirk, Ian, and I enjoyed being home and getting our house ready for Christmas.  We puttered around, put up the tree, hung ornaments on it, and then just vegged out.  Ian really enjoyed helping and put our manger under the tree. We stayed in our pjs all day and loved every minute of it.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAOn Saturday, we hosted my birthday party with the family. Great time!  Kirk made his delicious chili and made my cake.  I ventured out that morning at 7:30 a.m. to buy our last-minute items.  Then everyone came over and we had a great time.  I received some wonderful gifts and am so very thankful for all of my loved ones. It was a special evening.

Again, I just wish I had taken more photos.  We have a silly tradition of switching the candles around on our cakes.  I don’t remember who started that or when but it is fun and keeps things lively.

Sunday, we went to church and had a great service.  The church is lovely with all of the Christmas decorations and the advent wreath and candles. Ian gave out the popcorn that people had so nicely ordered from him.  We appreciate the support for his Cub Scout troop.  We ate lunch at our house and enjoyed more of the tasty chili.  Mom and Dad stayed for most of the afternoon and Mom and I watched a fun Christmas movie.

Today, we woke up and Kirk and Ian wished me a happy birthday and sang Happy Birthday to me.  We then took Ian to school. He was ready to be back and see everyone after a long weekend.  Kirk and I will have lunch — just the two of us — and that will be fun.  Then after school, we will dine out at one of my favorite Japanese Steakhouses for dinner prior to Ian’s pack meeting.  Each Monday night is busy with Cub Scout activities and today is no exception.

The week will continue with fun and blessings with our first dinner and Advent church service on Wednesday and then assisting in Ian’s room one day this week, and plenty of other fun and adventures are to be had.

Today I am so thankful for:

  • My family who knows me so well
  • Thoughtful birthday gifts
  • Fabulous new accessories
  • Birthday cards that make me laugh and cry happy tears
  • Sipping hot tea while chatting with my mom, aunt, sister, and cousin
  • Special photos with my parents
  • Play time for Ian and his grandparents
  • Ian having a blast with his cousins
  • Laughing like crazy over a funny movie
  • The lights of our Christmas tree
  • Making a wish as a birthday candle is blown out
  • Family clumping
  • The family circle of prayer
  • Birthday wishes from friends and family
  • My faith and beliefs
  • Old photos
  • Holding hands with loved ones

I wonder if I will be able to cherish each and every minute of my special day?  I plan to do just that.  Thanks so much to all of my loved ones who are helping to make it special!  You truly do rock!!

Photography 101 – Treasure

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s Photography 101 word is Treasure.  Normally we think of treasure as gold and valuables, but treasure also is who and what we truly value and love. My treasure is my family, friends, and the memories we make and share.

The house that I have chosen for today is one of the places where four generations of my family have had fun and have enjoyed being together. This is the family beach house and it is a wonderful place to gather.  It is a definite treasure.

I love the turquoise color, love the front porch where hundreds of meals have been served, and love the doors and windows, which are opened and let the ocean breeze in.  I also love the table and benches that a friend built for us, the ramp down the side of the house which leads to the outdoor shower and patio, and the gate which Ian clung to as he was first learning to walk.

I also love the family sing-alongs around the piano, love when we pack people in to spend the night, love taking turns making meals, love playing games and talking late into the night on the porch, love eating fish tacos from a restaurant that we can walk to, love the back patio crowded with all of the bikes, love the towels and sunscreen all over the front and back porches, and love to watch all of the beach and boardwalk activity.

It may seem like an odd choice for treasure.  But, this place is very special to me.  It doesn’t look like much, but every square inch is filled with memories and fun with my dear friends and family.  I am so blessed to have had this place to come to throughout my life.  And, from the porch, if you look to the left, you can see the lovely pacific ocean and sand.  To the right is the bay on the other side of a major street.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is Ian just finishing his puzzle a few years ago on the porch table.  He was also having fun with his cars. We traveled with him to this house for the first five years of his life.  Each year he enjoyed something new and had blast, just as I did. That is an amazing treasure and a wonderful blessing.

SRP.72.Bill.Mairzy.Patti.late1960sHere is a photo of when I was a child on this same porch. I am sitting with my parents.  The wooden table hadn’t been built yet when this was taken.  As you can see the color of the gate is different, cars on the street are different, but the fun of the place is still there.

That fun has simply grown as my husband and I, and my parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles have grown and have wanted to bring new family members to enjoy the fun.

This tiny house is treasure to me and is a place I love to visit.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • A place where family and friends can gather each year
  • A tiny house which feels big because of all of the amazing memories
  • My grandparents who purchased this house
  • A boy feeling better after a lazy weekend trying to get over a cold
  • Early morning hugs
  • Having fun at a Cub Scout meeting
  • Handing out popcorn to our friends and family nice enough to buy from Ian
  • Mom’s roast, potatoes, and veggies
  • Date nights with Kirk
  • Oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins for breakfast
  • Making meals for the Thanksgiving feast
  • A shortened week of school
  • Decorating for the holidays
  • Having wonderful friends and family
  • Memories with my loved ones

I wonder when I will next get to visit my treasured place? I hope that it will be very soon!

Happy Thanksgiving!

img267Today is the day of Thanksgiving!  I hope that you have someone to share it with and can truly enjoy it!

This afternoon we will be praying, giving thanks, and eating with our family and friends.  Everyone brings a dish to share.  My contribution is green bean casserole and perhaps a dessert.

It is a great meal, often with a game on the television, chess will be played, and perhaps a card game or two.  And, the kids will play.  The house will be very noisy but we will have lots of fun.

We are so thankful to have this fun, wild and crazy bunch to celebrate with.  Several generations of family and friends will gather together.

This year my mother discovered we are descendants of a family who arrived in America on the Mayflower.  Knowing there is a tie to early Thanksgiving celebrations makes this one even more special to me.

Here are a few things on this Thanksgiving that I am thankful for:

  • A picture of this turkey that my son drew with items he is thankful for
  • Breakfast in our pjs and a lazy morning
  • Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (mainly show numbers now but still fun)
  • Helping in the kitchen
  • A toast and prayers for what we are thankful for
  • My mom’s turkey and dressing
  • My sister’s sweet potatoes, which I am allergic to but will have to try
  • Tasty treats from my aunt and cousin
  • Mashed potatoes – one of my faves
  • Green bean casserole with onions on top and all of the other sides
  • Cranberry sauce with a roll
  • Pumpkin pie and pecan pie with whipped cream
  • Giggles from cousins
  • Seeing my son talk to my grandmother (who is 92 years old)
  • A dog who will be begging for scraps and probably be told no
  • Photos of friends and family young and old
  • A chess game or two or three
  • Cheering and yelling at the television during the games
  • Leftover turkey sandwiches
  • A variety of crafts and electronic devices being used after eating the meal
  • A long afternoon of conversation
  • A turkey-induced nap
  • Leftover turkey sandwiches
  • Watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with Ian

Here are a few quotes that I found for Thanksgiving:

  • “You can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning.” — Albert Barnes
  • “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” — W. J. Cameron
  • “Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.” — Robert Caspar Lintner
  • “For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wonder if on this Thanksgiving, we can truly be thankful for the people in our lives who mean so much, what we have and do, and enjoy and appreciate those who we are with.  I am planning to do just that.

God Bless!

Love and Birthday Wishes

birthday_KarenHi and Happy Friday!

Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends — Karen.  Happy Birthday to you dear Karen!!!!

The two of us met at work and have remained friends.  She and her husband Rich are a blessing to me and I am very grateful to know them!

And, before Kirk and I sold our first house, Rich and Karen helped us paint it.  This was a big project and I was pregnant with Ian at the time.  He enjoys hearing the stories about that project.

When Ian was baptized, they were there with us to celebrate.  We have enjoyed many milestones together and laughed and cried about many things through the years.

We don’t see each other as much as we’d like but always have fun when we do get together.  I hope that she and her hubby have a great birthday celebration planned for her!

Karen, may you be blessed and have another fantastic year!  Hope to see you again soon.  I miss you my friend.

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POD_Challenge_July_5_LoveToday’s Photo-A-Day Challenge is Love.

The picture that I chose for today is of my grandparents on their honeymoon in 1930.

It clearly is a photo that I didn’t take but is one that I have always loved of the two of them.

They taught me a lot about love, friendship, fun, and the importance of family.  They also helped teach a few generations of the importance of gathering together at a special place.

Grandma and Grandpa loved one another, their children, their grandchildren, friends, and other family members.  They also loved their careers and were both amazing teachers.  And, Grandpa was a brilliant writer.

I like to think that my siblings, cousins, and I inherited a lot of their talents and compassion.

Before my grandpa died, they were married for 66 years.

I am thankful to them for teaching me that love is more than just a word.  It is a way to live and an action to take.

Busy Couple of Days

busyFrom Thursday to Sunday, I was pretty much off the grid as far as a computer goes and out of town so I missed out on a few fun events.

I was at a homeschool convention that I will write more about in a day or so.  It was a great experience but made for some very busy and long days.  Busy, busy, busy!

On Thursday, we drove for 5 hours to the convention location and then worked a few hours that night at our booth.  My son and I traveled together and ate lunch along the way.  After helping with the booth, we ate dinner with Kirk at the hotel where the convention was being held.

That day I missed writing my posting on Thursday Tunes, which I recently started.  This week I will be writing about the movie, “Rock of Ages.”  Please check back with me to read this blog.

I also missed a Girls Night Out with some friends from high school and the chance to say goodbye to a friend who is moving to another state.  I hated to miss this but hope to be able to go the next time we get together.

On Friday, we were at the convention for most of the day and met some amazing and fun people!  It was great seeing all of the families and I must admit, I love to people watch and meet new people so it was a good day.

I did, however, miss writing my Five Minute Friday posting.  I will probably write that tomorrow.  The word is SONG so that will be fun!  I just have to not think about it until I write tomorrow, which may be a challenge.

Friday also was the birthday of one of my dearest and oldest (pun intended) friends.  Actually she is 6 months younger than me.  Happy late birthday to you Dawn! I hope that you had a fabulous day!!  I have some fabulous memories of the two of us celebrating our birthdays through the years.

Saturday, we had another busy day at the convention and met some more new people.  Many new contacts were made and that was great!  That night we went to a Ruby Tuesday for dinner.  Needless to say, Ian was pretty tired and went right to sleep once we returned to our hotel.

While at this convention, we missed my Aunt Beth’s birthday party.  Her birthday was on Saturday.  I hated to miss this since we always have fun with my family get-togethers.  But, we couldn’t make it.  Hopefully I will see her again soon!

Then Sunday morning, we were woken up at 4:30 a.m. by a very loud thunderstorm.  That was not fun, but thankfully Ian slept through it.  We had breakfast, packed up, and headed back home.

At around lunch time, we had to get off the interstate because of a thunderstorm.  The rain was so heavy that I couldn’t see past the hood of my car.  Scary to say the least!  Thankfully, I was only 1 mile from an exit where we had lunch.  Thank you Lord for watching out for us!

As I told Ian, it was like driving through a cotton ball.  He totally got that!  On the way home we stopped at our library and grocery store.  When we got home, we were tired and had to unload the car.   Then it was time to relax.  Ahhh!

Sunday was also my friend Dawn’s son, Kendrick’s birthday.  Happy Birthday to you Kendrick!  Hope you had a fabulous day.

I felt really bad that I missed so much, but this weekend was important for my husband’s family business.  I guess sometimes in life you do have to miss things that you want to do.

All in all, we did have a good time with where we were and made the best of it.