Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Songs, Sounds, and Sightings of Spring!

Spring, Spring, I heard a robin sing
I'm glad because it's Spring again!
Spring, Spring, it makes me want to sing
I want to play ball, I want to jump rope,
and roller skate again I hope,
In good, old Spring.

Today, I was drawn to Cantigny. I just needed to walk around and look. It smelled and sounded wonderful. It is not as lovely as it soon will be but I can confidently see that Spring is ready to be in full bloom soon. 

 Right away, I noticed the weeping yellow green willow trees and a young family chasing and playing around them.

It was windy so the chimes were singing happy songs. 

 It is our local school district's spring break so there were lots of children playing on the tanks, some in shorts and tees.

 I was delighted to see around ten of the turkeys and listen to birds. Most were too shy to be photographed.

Certainly, soon, the "Thin Ice" sign can be put away for this season.

All the patches of green and stems poking through the earth made me think of Kermit's song . . .

But green's the color of Spring.

And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, 
or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be

It could make you wonder why, but why wonder? 
Why Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

G'Day from Down Under

Recently we returned from a unique and special vacation with good friends. We decided to call this Bob's retirement trip. It was a blessing in so many ways. We had three couples that were our host/hostesses. Because they were local, we did and saw things that we would not have known about without them. What a privilege to make their acquaintance. We are thankful.

Impressions of Ireland

We went to Ireland with friends ten months ago but I just decided to post a couple of photo books. The trips were wonderful and we were so blessed to enjoy them with friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Reason for Joy

Birthdays? Weddings? Showers?

On my birthday, I was blessed abundantly. Two of the special blessings came in the form of wonderful flowers.

The tulips make for a floral welcome to our home. I see them and am happy every time I enter.

The roses give me another burst of joy as I see them first thing in the morning and stop to sniff them several times during the day.

Our family is anticipating a wedding soon. My stepdaughter, Kathi and Joe will be married next month. The maid of honor, Lisa, and the bride's Aunt Les and I gave a bridal shower on Sunday. My responsibility was primarily to host the shower in our home, to decorate and plan a game.

Most of the food was prepared by others. My only food responsibilities were cheese and petit fours. I am so sorry that I forgot to take a picture of the food table after everyone else added their contributions.

The homemade petit fours were fun to try.

I wanted the decorations to say,"Kathi, you are loved. We are rejoicing and bursting with happiness for you!" It gave me pleasure to share my flower gifts and have a garden theme.

Half of the roses were used on the tables in little individual vases. Kathi's Aunt Les, my sister-in-law, helped attach branches and Alstroemeria to the backs of the chairs. (We would have used gladiolas if they were available in our price range.)

I need to give credit to where credit is due. This idea was not original. I had planned to go with an all white theme from an idea that I got from Pinterest.

That probably would have looked more elegant but when the roses and tulips arrived a few days before, I happily changed my plans to a colorful garden.

The rest of the roses graced the welcome table hosted by my two lovely granddaughters, Jessica and Morgan.

Some of Kathi's closest friends are her group of seven friends (eight including Kathi) from high school youth group. Four of those friends attended her shower.

Kathy's friend, Sharon (on the far right) provided a devotional and followed a garden flower theme. She shared the meaning of several flowers and a Bible verse with that characteristic and related it to Joe and Kathi's marriage. She also told the importance of the soil and a foundation in Christ.

The picture shows the flowers and the pot of soil used in Sharon's devotional. I was so involved in the shower once people started arriving that I forgot to take pictures and so I do not have a picture of Sharon giving her devotional.

The guests included friends and family of Kathi and family of Joe. Joe has six sisters and no brothers. We played a Jeopardy type of game relating to both Joe and Kathi. I only have this blurry picture of the game board, but you can still get the idea of it. We had already done two of the columns.

Kathi and her fiancé, Joe, do not need many household items and requested recipes or "Date Night" ideas. As people responded to the shower, we encouraged them to consider giving a "Date Night." Gifts that were given included movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, White Sox tickets, concert tickets, a Chicago food tour as well as a host of other creative ideas of things to do and places to go. Kathi also received many delicious sounding recipes as well as supplies to make the dishes or help to prepare them.

The picture below shows Kathi opening a gift and her maid-of-honor, Lisa, recording the gifts.

We invited Joe to join us for the last part of the shower. He and Kathi shared that they were attracted to each other because of the other's commitment to God and compassion towards others. "Of course," Joe added "and her gorgeous looks (soooo hot!)"

Joe shared, "The Lord Jesus Christ is the cornerstone that our lives are built on. We believe that with Him at our sides as we take this journey together, and our commitment to each other and family, we have a recipe for success, not only for our marriage but for life in general."

Now you know why we are rejoicing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

At a Loss for Words

My husband laughed when I said that I was at a loss for words. It’s true!

Lilly: Grandma, do you buy lottery tickets? How many people buy lottery tickets?
Me: No, I do not buy lottery tickets.
Lilly: My mommy and daddy don’t buy lottery tickets either.
Jackson: It sounds like you would win a lot but there is almost no chance that you would win. It would be like one in 5000.
Me: It would even be less chance than that.
Jackson: So what are the chances?
Me: Oh goodness, I don’t even know. I guess we would have to look that up. I know it is a lot. I have heard that it is more likely that you would get struck by lightning 500 times than win that big lottery.
Lilly: I don’t want to get hit by lightning.
Me: I doubt that you ever will get hit by lightning.
Me thinking: Great! Now I am going to have to deal with lightning nightmares!

Jackson: Think about how many people there are on earth. How can people even say there is this many people or that many people? How could anyone ever count them? There would be more people born before you got done and people could be at the store or something. It is impossible.
Me: You are right. I think they can only estimate the number of people but God knows how many people there are on earth.
Jackson: He knows how many hairs are on the head of everyone.
Lilly: God knows how many hairs on everyone’s arms and legs
Jackson: and beards and mustaches.
Lilly: Do women get hair on their faces?
Me: Sometimes they do when they get old like me.
Lilly: Women get hair on their faces?
Me: (being slightly untruthful) well not many but once and awhile they do get a stray hair
Lilly: I don’t want to get hair on my face
Me: No, you don’t have to worry about that.
Lilly: Do you have hairs on your face?
Me: Oh, Lilly, please do not look closely . . . I probably do.
Lilly: I don’t see any.
Me: Good!
Me thinking: Oh my goodness, I am thankful that I got waxed last week!

Lilly: Did you know that some men only have one eyebrow? Their eyebrows grow together into just one eyebrow? They have to shave that little part between their noses to make it look like two eyebrows instead of one.
Me: No. I did not know that. Thanks, Lilly.

Jackson: Some words that sound like swear words are not really swear words.
Following this we had a discussion about the word “dam” that water goes over. I am sorry that I cannot recall the whole conversation but at the time, I was chuckling inside an awful lot.
Jackson: Actually some words that are swear words don’t really sound like swear words.
Lilly: Hell is not a swear word.
Lilly: Grandma, Where do you think hell is? Do you think it is on this planet?
Me: I don’t know?
Lilly: But where do you think it is?
Me: Lilly, I just don’t know where it is?
Lilly: Well I don’t think it is on this planet.

Lilly: Do you know where I would most like to go? Well, I would take everyone I love. (Beginning with Mommy and Daddy, there was a very lengthy list.)
Lilly: Guess where I would like to go more than anyplace? Just guess.
Me: Disneyworld?
Lilly: I would go to China.
Me: Did you study about China?
Lilly: Yes. I would mostly go to Beijing because that is the only city that I can remember right now.

Lilly: Is Jessica my second cousin?
Me: Well, actually, she is your step cousin.
Lilly: Relatives are really complicated.
Me thinking: From the mouths of babes . . .
Wrong, wrong thing for me to say but the words were out before I realized it:
Jessica is not actually your cousin by blood but she is still a very special cousin and much like a first cousin.
Lilly: What does that mean, "a cousin by blood?"
Me: Well, it just means that Jessica was not born from one of my sons. Her daddy has a different mom. Uncle Kevin's mom was Grandma Dee.
Lilly: I have my Grammy’s blood in me because my Grammy had my mommy and my mommy had me.
Me: Yes, and on our side of the family, you have my blood in you because I had your daddy and you are the daughter of your daddy.
Lilly: Grandma! His blood is not even in me because he did not even have me! My mom had me.
Me thinking: I think I had better let that one go for now.

Lilly: At this place that we went in Denver, they have a mechanical bull.
Me: Have you ever tried to ride it?
Lilly: Oh yes, my record is like two or three minutes!
Jackson: My record is 6 seconds
Lilly: I wish they would use a real bull.
Me: Really? I would be afraid that a real bull would gore me with his horns.
Lilly: Well, they could cut off his horns
Me: What if a real bull kicked you?
Lilly: Well, they could cut off his legs
Jackson: And extract his teeth
Jackson: Then pretty much you would have a mechanical bull just like the one they are using.

Lilly: Grandma, are all of the girl bees in a hive princesses?
Me: Yes, I guess that is right because they all have a queen for a mother.
Lilly: And all the boy bees are princes?
Me: Yes, that makes sense
Jackson: That’s one huge royal family!

See what I mean? At a loss for words!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just Too Good To Be True!

Arriving after their flight, the children look adorable! Dressed so cute and Lilly with a braid in her hair. It didn't take long to lose that polished look but oh my, did we have fun!

Before going home, we made a stop at Wrigley Field for a ballpark tour.

Jackson looked right at home sitting in the Press Box.

That evening we took a night bike ride to the school playground. We actually took a bike ride every day—going to a park or playground or the Dairy Queen or a local garden store. I love it that the kids like to ride bike!

It is great to live so close to the bike path!

Okay, I can see this is going to get way too long if I give a play-by-play of every day. Still I cannot resist reliving these precious moments!

A favorite spot to climb and explore is Cantigny.

When Jackson and Lilly come in the summer, they like to go to Rice Pool and Raging Waves. Since neither were open yet for the season, we were happy to find an indoor place for a little water therapy.

We tried to eat healthy some of the time but after all this was Spring Vacation and so a few treats were in order.

On Thursday, we decided to spend some time working. We found a place where we could help children that did not have enough food to eat. We helped pack a lot of meals at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. Jackson said, "It was not actually exciting to do the work but it really does make you feel good to help others." He did a great job bagging and weighing and then traded jobs near the end of our shift and measured and poured rice. Lilly did a lot of measuring and pouring of rice and soy but she was the best one in our group to measure the chicken which was just a little trickier.

Jackson and Lilly are great jumpers and they have endless stamina! We spent some time at Monkey Joes and Xtreme Trampoline and then went and bounced some more on Uncle Kevin's trampoline!

We had a busy schedule but there was still plenty of time to relax around the house.It was great to snuggle as we watched a little TV or read a book. Lilly and I played our one piano duet many, many times per day.

Friday was a special day, Good Friday. We attended a Good Friday event for children at our Wheaton Bible Church. First we made a centerpiece for Easter.

Later we walked through Seven Stations of the Cross for children. Each station had something to touch and experience. Cousins Kent and Jessica were the drama team at the Synagog site. They did a great job and we were proud of them.

It was a sobering time for us as we remembered all that Jesus did because He loves us so much.

Cousins Kent, Steven, David and Jessica joined us for an egg coloring party and an egg hunt.

It's too bad that the eggs are not very visible in the photo as there was a lot of creativity in the eggs!

Later we visited the Popcorn store to spend the change that was found inside of the plastic eggs at our Easter egg hunt. Jackson noted that the address on the store is 111 1/4 Front Street, Wheaton. It is such a little store that it does not get a whole number. We have been going to the store for more than 40 years and I never noticed the address before.

On the morning before their flight back home, Grandpa took the kids on a beekeeping excursion. They make very cute beekeepers!

Grandpa showed Jackson that the bees were happy to just crawl around his hands and get aquainted. They were not interested in stinging. Both of the kids examined frames for brood, honey, capped honey, and drone cells. Jackson and Lilly also helped smoke the bees a little but for the most part the bees were calm and did not need much smoke. Lilly especially was fascinated watching the bees bring in different colored pollen.

After a Culver's lunch, it was about time to head to the airport but we had time for one more Popcorn store run and a quick visit to our old park that we still miss.

The goodbyes were quick because the flight attendant came for the children earlier than we expected. That was a blessing for all of us.

Our tired grandchildren arrived home safe and sound late Saturday evening. But early the next morning the kids were properly bathed, combed, dressed, and smiling. Perhaps some of the polish is from all of the hugs and kisses received from their mom and dad. We received this Easter morning photo.

Just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off of you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

We Both Won!

Beautiful Morgan celebrated 14 years in February.

She has a full and busy life. Recently she had a part in her 8th grade musical, Oklahoma.

Our Grandma Date waited until Spring Break. We started it on Thursday by making dinner for Grandpa and a co-worker that was traveling through on business—on his motorcycle.

Grandpa suggested short motorcycle ride in our neighborhood might be a fun (and learning) adventure and Gary acquiesced.

After dinner, and a couple of TV shows (American Idol and Touch), Morgan beat me in a friendly but competitive game of Scrabble. A “Q” was the last tile left for me to draw and then Morgan played her last piece. I want a rematch soon, girl.

On Friday, we went on a Chocolate Segway tour.

It was perfect for Morgan because it included adventure and her favorite food group. For me, sharing the time together made it absolutely fabulous.

Later we dined with Grandpa and then saw Mirror, Mirror at a local movie theater. The movie did not do much for either of us but afterward we played games again and Morgan again won every game we played—Word on the Street, and Rumikub.

On Saturday, we planned to visit bee hives with Grandpa but Morgan and I did not get an early start. Instead we did a little shopping and ate lunch at one of her favorite places.

Being with Morgan makes me smile. I’m pretty sure that I was the real winner.