Friday, April 27, 2012

White shirts on the beach

One of my favorite vacation memories is a beach trip I took with my sisters, Jackie, and Abbie.  Hard to believe, but that trip was almost five years ago!  Sarah was living in Colorado and couldn't join us.

So much has happened in those five years.  Some of it really good, some of it really hard.

On this day we had not met Corey or Dennis.  We didn't know how much we could love Lily, Daniel, Bella, or Bennett.  None of us lived in Philadelphia and none of us had plans to.

Ovarian cancer had not touched our lives.

We are all still here, though.  I thank God for that.  And if we all live until September we will go on a cruise together, this time with Sarah and Mom.

And I hope we will all wear white shirts and have our picture taken.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hiking in Sitka

Last week when I was thinking about our trip to Amsterdam, I started thinking about other trips we have been on.

In July of 2009 we went on a cruise out of Seattle up to Alaska.  I love to go on cruises.  The ships fascinate me and I like to search about and find the 'perfect' spot to just hang out.  On this ship, we made our home in the library which had wall to wall windows and very comfortable lounging chairs.  From our perch we could see the whole vista in front of the ship.  Many times, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Before we left home I did a little research on the best things to do at the different ports of call.  One guide book mentioned a hiking trail in Sitka.  We left the ship, walked past homes, a school, a small grocery store, got to the end of the road just before a beautiful little cemetery, and found the Gavan Hill Trail.  My book said that the view from the ridge was beautiful and we headed off on our 2 mile walk.
I don't get out on many Alaskan trail, but I have never seen one so well maintained.  There were many steps on dirt trails, but much of it was had boardwalks and steps.  We could hear a stream gurgling and lots of singing birds.  If I think really hard, I can still feel the woodsy, cool feeling of the air.

Before our trip, though, while I was reading guide books about wonderful hiking trails in Sitka, Daryl was reading about watching out for grizzly bears while in Alaska.  The undergrowth along the trail was thick in places and, to Daryl's wary eye, looked like a perfect spot for a rabid grizzly bear to lurk.

Needless to say, we didn't stay on the trail long enough to see the view from the ridge.

Maybe that is one thing that makes our marriage work:  I provide the adventurous spirit that lets us both experience some new places and Daryl keeps us alive to enjoy more adventures!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday inspiration

I am always looking out for good music to listen to when I exercise.

Here is one of my favorites.

The message of the song has proven to be true for me:  pain in this life makes me stronger.  And, as a running song, the message is equally powerful:

     The pain ain't gonna last forever
     In time it's gonna get better.
     Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger.

I prefer the radio version of the song to this video.  There just seems to be more power to it.

I have been a fan of Mandisa since her American Idol days.  She is a person who was obviously overweight and handled with grace some mean comments from Simon Cowell.  Mean things like they were going to need to build a bigger stage if she was a contestant.  When she had an opportunity, she said that his comments were very hurtful, but that she forgave him because of what Jesus had done for her.  In an unpopular move, she sang the song, Shackles (Praise You), on the American Idol stage.  I am a fan!

:  :  :  :  : 

Later today, Daryl and I are flying off to Amsterdam for a week's vacation. The forecast is for rain every day and highs in the low 60's.  We have packed rain jackets and umbrellas and a little rain won't stop us!  We may see the inside of more coffee shops than we would otherwise, but we'll have fun no matter what.

Not "coffee shops", but coffee shops.  In Amsterdam, "coffee shops" sell marijuana.  I sure hope I don't get confused and spend some time in the wrong shop.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The thing I learned about bamboo

David planted some bamboo at our house last year.

I don't know anything about bamboo.  David knows everything about bamboo.  He said when, where, how, and why to plant it.  I said, "Okay."

I'm just compliant like that.

A couple of weeks ago he called and asked me to look at the base of the stalks from last year to see if they had sent up any shoots.  That day, there were no shoots.

The next day, there was this:

Two days later:

Four days:

Ten days later this baby bamboo was taller than its daddy!

So, what did I learn about bamboo?

That stuff grows fast!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The bunny in the middle

I am having a great time learning all about my grandbunny, Ollie.  He lived with Jonathan, Daniel, and Bella, but his whole day was spent in a smallish rabbit hutch.  Now that he has moved to the country he has room to run and jump and play.

If he wants to.  And right now I'm still figuring out what bunnies like to do.

In the barn we have three separate chicken pens.  Harry, the rooster, and his little friend live in one pen and the rest of the chickens lived in the other two.  When Ollie came, we shooed the hens into one pen and cleaned out the middle section for a bunny house.  We got Ollie settled, then Daryl and I went inside to eat supper.  When we came back outside, Ollie had gotten into Harry's home.  We found a small space in the fence that didn't look big enough to squeeze through, but apparently it was just big enough.  Ollie seemed content enough, but Harry was quite concerned about this new hopper.

I had one of those "fiddle-dee-dee, I'll take care of it in the morning" moments and left Ollie to spend the night with Harry.  The next morning when I went to check on everyone, Ollie had left Harry and crossed into the other chicken's pen!  Ollie didn't seem as content to be in the pen with 20 chickens and was looking around to find a way out.

I coaxed Ollie back into his home and attached chicken wire along the bottom of the entire pen.  I had solved the problem of keeping him in his pen, but now I needed to learn about rabbits.

This is what I have learned and figured out so far:

1.  A rabbit can be frightened to death.   I would hate for that to happen, but from what I have seen so far, he has come much closer to frightening the chickens to death than the other way around.

2.  Rabbits are smarter than chickens.  I can just tell.  Being smarter than a chicken is not a steep hill to climb, though.

3.  Rabbits can get bored and when they are bored, they try to get out of their home.  We certainly can't have a bored rabbit in the family so I looked online to see what the rabbit equivalent of video games would be.  After my quick search I packed up a box and took some toys out to Ollie:  an empty coffee can, the plastic lid from the top of a Tide container, a telephone book, some clover from the field, an upside down garbage can to sit on with a gangplank to walk up, a piece of pipe to crawl in, and I left the box.  His pen looks like a messy day care playroom.  Rabbit heaven, I'm sure.

4.  Rabbits have sharp claws and they will use them if you try to give them a hug.  Ollie doesn't need a hug.  And my hands are healing nicely.

I think we will be good friends.  As soon as I figure out this hugging thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A birthday quilt

Several months ago I asked Sarah and Abbie to go through my embroidery threads and put together some color combinations they liked.  That way, if I ever made something for them, I could put it together with colors they like.

I decided to make a lap quilt for Sarah's birthday and it was so much fun to make it, knowing that the colors were some she would like.  The bonus for me was that I liked them, too!

The quilt is very scrappy and I was able to use a few fabrics that will have some meaning to her.  There are a couple of pieces from the bedding she used when Daniel and Bella were born and another piece from a dress of Bella's.
Wouldn't this quilt look good laying on the ground with someone taking a nap on it?  Ahhh.....makes me sleepy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter 2012

Our Easter was full of thankfulness and of family.  Here, in no particular order because I can't seem to get blogger to cooperate with me today, are some pics of the day.  Ben and Abbie were there, too, but I didn't get good pictures of them.  Sorry, guys!

Easter lunch has been at JoJo's house for years.  When I turned the corner into her little kitchen, I found all of these pretty girls helping to get lunch on the table.

 Bennett took a nap during the egg hunt, but he was ready to play when he woke up.

When you wear a white skirt and don't want to get it dirty, you can always sit on your uncle.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meet Ollie

Just wanted to drop in and let you meet my new friend, Ollie.

He's actually a grandbunny, and he has come to live in Walnut Grove.

Don't you love that little nose?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Little Princesses

Last night the girls in the family went to see the Disney princesses in a show in downtown Montgomery.  Lily and Bella were so excited to see Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle.  Lily was dressed in her best twirly skirt, Bella was wearing her silver, sparkly shoes.  They oohed and ahhed over the other girls dressed up in their best princess costumes.

I feel blessed to be a part of such small excitements.  I never thought that I would have the opportunity to be a daily person in the lives of our grandchildren, but I am.  We see each other at church, we drop in at each other's houses, we run errands together, we have slumber parties, we feed the chickens.  

We are family and we are familiar.

During the finale of the princess show, the entire cast came out on stage dressed in their most beautiful, sparkling costumes.  The lighting was wonderful and the overall effect was magical.  Lily had climbed in my lap and I asked her, "Lily, isn't that beautiful?"

She responded, "All of their dreams are coming true!"

Mine are, too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday surprises

Here are the things on my to-do list today:   pull the grass from around the blueberry bushes, vacuum the den rug, and till the garden.

This is what I found when I started pulling the grass - blueberries!  This is our first year to have any and I'm thrilled!

This is what I found when I went to empty the vacuum cleaner dust bin.  He was about 5 feet long and non-poisonous, but I asked him to leave.  Immediately.

And this is what I found

in here

when I went to till the garden.

I hope your day is full of only the happy surprises!