Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumn family photo attempts....

I've missed this place...

My family has missed me regularly posting in this place. 

Though it wasn't the original plan, it really "has" been a long while again since posting, so thank you for stopping by and visiting here. Please drop me a note and let's catch up.

I've been thinking this blog has become so full, and for the past year Google has been wanting monthly fees from me to support the extra space I'm taking up on the web. I've also been asked to contribute more money to my photo storage space, from the photo hog that I've become the past few years. 

It's been a while as I've mentioned above. It's been a-long-while in fact! 

I don't think there's ever been a time where such a span has happened from one blog post to another, but it is what it is. 

It's been quite a few months around here... some very tough times amidst the sweeter ones, with so-many-adjustments to become accustomed to. 

We're still trying to shake many unexpected things off. Are we ever trying to just focus, absorb, and roll with everything. 

Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone. For the second year in a row, we were able to capture a family photo, with our beautiful (autumn) forest canvas behind us. 

I love these photo sessions! 

But, snapping the ones below just made me laugh, and giggle, and then don the stern mother look followed by my curt request; 

"Stop that and let me get one good one"... smiling.... 

Here are a few sneak peaks of our now five living here in the east with us, five of our eight. Now, you'll see why I had to offer that stern request. Come on now, I hear you giggling too. 

And.....FINALLY I got this one; 

It's been great stopping by and revisiting this space. I've missed you most of all, and hope to visit with you all again soon. 


Friday, August 02, 2013

Hello August!

Yes, it's now officially August!

Where, oh where has time disappeared? 

I've been meaning to return much earlier, though multitudes of challenges have hit, and we are in the process of recovering, regrouping, and reformatting priorities. 

We have much to share, oh yes we do, however the summer months are very precious, the beach sands call our name, and seasonal memories await. If it takes a wee bit more time to return here, then my friend, you will definitely know I'm definitely eager to do just that. 


It's just a matter of time before I can find my way back, and upload more awaiting, wonderful, personal photos. I am so silly really. I admit that I do definitely take way too many photos, for sure I do. 

Believe it or not, my laptop is constantly reminding me that it's storage is way too full, my iphone indicates it is also way too full, and I have hours of sorting to do, so I'm refraining from posting just yet until this organizational task is finally complete.

Thanks for your patience. 


Friday, June 07, 2013

June... you're supposed to offer more than this.

It's already June. 

June is supposed to be a great month for closing the books, soaking up more sunshine, tending to seasonal yard clean up and gardening, basically just getting outdoors more often, especially to the water's edge to breathe in the sea air and recover from life's busyness. 

The weather lately though, doesn't seem to understand it's June. Some days have already been way too hot and horribly humid, resulting in sudden debilitating breathing issues. On other days, I'm running for my winter coat again. Crazy! 

June is supposed to be the month for slipping happily toward a summer mode for the months ahead. That's just not happening either. On top of weather issues, we've entered a timing for mental gymnastics with tug of war challenges, a push/shove overwhelming effort at times with health, and the uncomfortable feeling of being sucked dry in the process. I'm not enjoying the entire idea of spending this summer burned out, bummed out, and dusting myself off from being hammered to the ground.

I know for sure, it's tremendously difficult to even admit it, but I just can't seem to get the desire to wrap my head around those small calendar squares ahead, at least not yet. 

Instead, I've been mentally turning the monthly calendar pages over, remembering the little stuff to do, like make those dental and optometrist appointments for everyone, check the well water all three weeks in a row, freshen up a few rooms with a coat of paint, enjoy hobby and down time galore, and eagerly prepare to welcome out of town guests for the wedding ahead. The whole idea of having all eight of our children staying under our roof all together again is very exciting!

I'm convinced the year though is flying by way too quickly. We're battling mosquitoes later than usual, the ones that do damage while sucking on my husband's face in the night. I'm still hoping and praying this long standing sinus dryness and pain finally disappears for good, and wondering where my hubby's health issues are heading with two very poor overall stat drops. I'm wanting to close the school books for an overdue brain dump soon, just finding myself simply counting down our days, realizing too that in a mere few weeks, fall will already appear once again, and this upcoming summer will vanish forever. Now, that's just an awful thought. 

June. Please come to stay. Please offer us steady weather, a fitting month filled with refreshment to come. Please? 

Yesterday, I was able to get out for my usual hike with my ladies. I haven't been for a while, usually due to the poor weather and subsequent necessary hike cancellations. Those times like the past three weeks due to thunder, lightning, tornado threats and monsoon rains.  

When hustling to get out the door to meet the start timing this week, I almost returned inside and slammed it shut behind me. The skies opened up, and suddenly without warning, the rain came down, swiftly pelting the ground with its heaviness. 

Quickly, I grabbed my rain jacket while muttering frustrations to myself under my breath. The immense urge to get out and move was (for me) far greater than the inconvenience of getting wet, so in a split second, I was back out the door and driving out toward my destination. 

I'm so glad I did. Ten minutes later, the rain ceased as I entered our hiking area to join everyone else gathering there. We weren't canceled!

Halfway around our 7.7 km. hike, the sun briefly appeared. Walking at a fast clip, very soon we all tore our jackets off, and my body began thanking me for keeping pace in my usual spot at the head of the pack. 

Every footstep enabled me to pound my heavy heart of late into my forward action steps, and our group's conversations allowed for a lovely and spontaneous bunch of laughter, its lighter content welcomed into my already full head. 


As usual, our hike leader's choice of this day's natural environment offered an instant peaceful tranquility for our often fast paced cardio movements, even when that one steep gully grunt climb left me almost breathless along with the others for a few seconds. Cheering one another onward, no one allowed to stop, it all quickly ended up feeling so, so, so good! Yes, it did! 

It's been a season for me of; "Oh sure, I can do that", or "Okay, I'll help", or "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and more yesses".... so much giving, many times without so much as a thank you. Energy depleted, stupid me (!) as I tend to just keep on giving so much of myself. It comes disguised as something sacrificial at times. It does. I've even joked with my children on chaotic days to remember to write on my tombstone, something so simple as "She tried...".  

Seriously though, I've just so often found myself hoping that I can extend my hand, to help alleviate and respond to other's pressures, befriend and soothe a hurting soul, automatically trying to assist family, friends, and neighbors, realizing it's often been to the point of what Elizabeth wrote about yesterday, a lack of "self care". Yes, that's me, my hand is currently raised way up high, pointed to the dark rainy skies above... I truly have spent the past few months placing everyone's needs way ahead of my own. 

I've had to actually sit back and take a moment to figure out; "Wait a second, what is it that I really need myself right now?"


Eventually while out hiking, I realized a glorious adrenaline energy had sneaked in and washed over me. Thankful and happy tears welled up in my eyes for believing strongly enough that - rain or shine, this hike just HAD to be mine. I had to own it, determined to begin and then to absolutely complete it, to get through the rain and storms in my mind let alone outdoors, then to find the joy dancing inside my heart after congratulating myself, and wiping the sweat off my tomato red, overheated face at the end of it all.   

Encouraging, I loved finding my husband's text come in a bit later; "You went for your hike after all! Good for you!"

A few of us decided upon a hot beverage location, and while unwinding with my pleasant camaraderie over a cup of hot of tea, everything again felt more focused and right with my soul. 

June. Hard to believe you are actually already here.... It's been such a rough winter, and spring.
June... I pledge to you now, as well as to the upcoming months of July and August, that I will take way more time for "self care", to deflect all the life sucking issues being thrust forward towards me these days, to offer them all upward, and "I will" begin to find the courage and strength to use that two letter word - "No"

No, not today. No, sorry I can't. No, outside of my own vocational duties, I'm trying to take these months ahead while knee deep in wedding plans, to begin taking better care of myself, and until such a time as I feel rested, recovered, and at peace in my heart, I'm just not able to tack on many additional items at this time that could possibly take me away from this very necessary personal goal. 

I must get out for my daily walk, to my exercise class, for my weekly hike, keep checking in with my chiropractor for those headaches which have returned, have leisurely dates with my husband and family times in between. There is much to pray for, a roaring to-do list yet unchecked, plenty of activities in full swing, and portfolios to complete.

Nope, not today, but for today, I will think of my own (and that of my family's) health and mental welfare, being extra careful not to volunteer to change my plans as I am usually caught doing, those which tend to affect me in keeping that promise to myself this summer.  

Oh, and dear June, July and August.... I will never miss another hike again! 


I promise.

 P.S. I am having a plethora of trouble with my blog, so many errors upon posting, not tracking properly in readers anymore, and I'm too annoyed to try to figure it out anymore at this point in time. There's the reason for my absence, and when I'm able, I plan to get to the bottom of all of that. Eventually. When it fits life here. Meanwhile, I have a "Ten Things I'm Thankful For" post coming up shortly...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Scenes from our Easter weekend

When a major feasting time occurs, it's double the blessing when additional family are present to celebrate with us, specially since our move to Ontario almost seven years ago now.


It sounds corny I know, but for me, mother to many and nana to almost a dozen, the quiet and smaller population in our home these days just seems way too quiet for me. I need festive, outright noisy, loads of laughter filtering through the air, plenty of warm loving hugs, and making memorable family times. 

I know, it's just me and my camera most often, at the very least, trying to snap what I can to remember and seize the days when able. For the first time since our move, yes, we indeed had company at Easter time.

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply..." 

~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814  

Here's a photo journal of sorts, a small glimpse into our Easter weekend this year...

Our younger boys posing with our company.

A highlight for him, a definite highlight he said was to play pool again after so many years later, of having owned his own pool hall in the "good old days" of his youthful years. 

Meanwhile, there was still daily prayer readings and reflections throughout Holy Week, and a fabulous new favorite "egg tree" to place these wooden images on with simple threaded string hangers. 

On Easter Sunday morning, we were able to flip the cross around to feature the the purple liturgical color with the symbolic and uplifting lilies so nicely adorned on it. 

Did I mention that I LOVE this new to us set? Oops, oh yes I already did in a past post. grinning...

Our little grandbaby missy loved having company over, and she engaged in their attentions and affections quite well.

So sweet, and so kind, this lovely gentleman has watched our children grow up the past half dozen years. He has offered such hospitality to our family over the years when offering his own home for us to stay in Plymouth, MA, right over the ocean. 

Time to pay it forward.

These two have really hit it off over the years
It was so good to see them together again.

Easter morning after mass our breakfast was scrumptious; fresh pacific salmon quiches, fruit, bacon and fresh orange juice, not to mention coffee aplenty. 

Oh! Did I mention an abundance of chocolate too? Oh, I didn't? 

Forgive me... grinning again. 

Afternoon snowy forest trail walking, a bit of sightseeing, more liturgical celebrating, and then Easter Sunday dinner; my foodie husband had this one with his yummy (grass fed) turkey, special homemade cranberry sauce, homemade secret family recipe (wink) stuffing, sweet potatoes, my signature salad (wink), and gravy.

Yum! Just look at this baby! 
Leftovers all week long!

Teasing everyone, I just couldn't resist these chocolate bars and subsequent introduction to our friend of our youngest daughter's bunny. There was an uncanny resemblance with her bunny to the one on the package, so cute! 

More yummy meals together; wild pacific salmon (we all love seafood!), quinoa salad, coleslaw, green salad, green beans with garlic, and more. 

Hail, Hail, finally there are enough around our family table this day!

And, another lovely reminder for the "reason for this season", one of our blessed palms, folded up into a cross and gently laying under our Alleluia letters on the dining room buffet. 

We were so happy you two to have you drive all the way up here for a short weekend visit. 

Come again!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ten Things I'm Thankful For ~ a spring rose edition

Yep...I'm definitely awaiting the spring's roses yet to come... Aren't you?

Here are my "Ten Things I'm Thankful For"....

When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
just remember, in the winter,
far beneath the bitter snow,
lies the seed that with the sun's love
in the spring becomes the rose.

(The Rose, sung by Bette Midler)

Well, in the last blog post I did warn all about our strange weather patterns looming before us, and indeed the snow did visit to cover the earth once more, with its (once again) wintry white snowy blanket.

The air grew very damp, and a tornado bounced off a farm an hour away from us. The odd weather offered us more bitter cold for a 48 hour period, and then all began to thaw and warm up again. 

I'm happy to report we have only a little rain today, and the weather forecast to come for the rest of the week, is sun, sun, and more sun! The temperatures will rise, and with a steady increase of 20C+ of thermometer reading blissness, we will - at last, feel the effects of spring in our midst.

- 1 - I'm thankful for the gifts of spring. My husband gifted me with these lovely tulips yesterday. He too, felt the sun rounding the bend ahead.  

I'm happy to report our trees are filling up with tiny buds, a sure sign that we still require patience for spring to finally begin blasting in with full force. 

I am filled with great anticipation for a visible change of season to remain for more than a day, and having experienced one very beautiful day already as a teaser this past weekend, enabling doors open wide, and being able to sit for a bit and soak up the sun's rays while quietly listening to the multitudes of returning birdies, well now, that was so very wonderful.

- 2 - I'm thankful for the many blessings intentionally sought after day to day. Our world and personal circumstances still prove that there is so much to pray for, and still so much to be ever-thankful for. Always. 

There are important family dates filling up our calendar, ones we will highlight in bright yellowy hues, glowing radiant like the sun to provide some blessed excitement ahead. 

On May 19th, our future son-in-law will be baptized and receive his First Holy Communion. We will celebrate his and our daughter's wedding this August, and in both September and November, two more grandbabies (Yes now 2!) will make their welcomed entrances into our family. Other extended family events are dotted in between these ones, milestones for some and delights for others. So blessed!

- 3 - I'm thankful for the heart of our home - our kitchen! With Lent now behind us, and the Easter season in our midst, sporadic and impulsive baking moments are present in our kitchen. 

The goodies are becoming a habit, and I hate to spill the beans to one daughter that our traditional "Lenten Pie Sundays" are now over. Two pies this weekend, and happy faces resulting from serving those were quite funny. 

- 4 - I'm thankful that our schooling is rounding the bend, and the light at the end of the tunnel ahead is now (finally) beginning to brightly glow. 

At this time of year, there is a tattling with our teens showing definite preferrences for some subjects over others. The dawdling becomes quite remarkable when a least favorite subject is presented for the week's "catch-up" scheduling mode. Oh, but we all know, those essays, and assignments that they really aren't a fan of will still be there come Monday. Right? 

Seize the day children, for this part of schooling too shall pass...and then there will be many more challenges and learning opportunities ahead throughout your entire life. Real life-schooling never ends! Know that. :)

- 5 - I'm thankful for this old solid oak  "Wilson" piano, the one that is daily adorned with sheet music, or a favorite piano book. It's the one that fingers pass across the ebony keys, offering joyful song and rhythmic tunes enough to fill our home with the sounds of music

Thank you to our children who still love to play, we love to listen to your efforts, and thank you mom and dad for having it surprisingly dropped off that one day, now so long ago. This is the piano all of my siblings played tunes upon, the one we had in our home growing up.  

All eight of our children have been privy to piano lessons, in the hope that they would learn to especially, and simply love fine music down the road. It is my fondest hope that they all still appreciate having had the opportunity of being introduced to, and playing on this timeless musical instrument. Maybe they won't continue to play in the future, but it will remain here whenever they wish to sit and run the keys again in the future.

- 6 - I'm thankful for the opportunity and pleasure of having guests in our home at Easter, for the very first time since our move to Ontario almost seven years ago now. 

My sister and our friend spent many hours driving here from Cape Cod, arriving late on Good Friday, and not leaving until Easter Monday morning. It was very special to have them here with us, one of those really thankful things in life to have additional family around on a special weekend. Love to you sister!

A highlight was the men's pool table games, so neat to see them enjoy circling around it and having a great time. Our friend used to own his own billiard hall many, many years ago and really enjoyed revisiting that special former hobby of his.

- 7 - I'm thankful for the formal change of winter to spring sports. Our son is playing ball hockey again this year. He's made a move to a new venue, with the biggest change being that this particular new-to-him league is outdoors, snow or shine. 

He was over the moon crazy-happy to be able to grab his favorite number 10 again, one that he's had for most of his ice/ball hockey seasons thus far. 

Though these photos have the sun shining, it was freezing cold out there, hovering around a mere 3C degrees! So cold, the sun didn't even warm a body up, so these boys were wearing layers to keep warm, and working it out there to keep pumping up their circulation.

Team win of 6-1 was a hearty bonus for all the kids on his team, but all were happy to run for warmth as soon as they exited their arenas. 

I'd like to mention the incredible professional flooring they are able to play on, a formal floor used in roller hockey games, so there is a cushioning for joints moving about throughout the season, as opposed to playing in an indoor arena's concrete flooring. Bonus!

- 8 - I'm thankful for attempts at resolving issues with short cuts to cleaning hardwood floors. This "shark steamer" allowed me to make an unexpected happy dance when locating it locally and finding it on sale for almost half the price. Ohhhh, was I ever thankful when the cashier surprised me with that good news, as it was the night before the actual mark down event and she offered it to me early. Yay!

With the recent purchase of this steam cleaner, I worked and worked at cleaning for some additional super shine on our abundance of flooring in this house. My verdict? Perhaps the sales pitch is hailed by many to be fantastic, yes it did clean well, and I'm still thankful for having it, but honestly, I think I'm needing a commercial unit instead to perform for us here. 
Though the manufacturer claims it will disinfect at the same time as cleaning, even at its lowest steam setting, I found it left a rather dull streaked flooring as a result of all that abundance of cleaning. I still really like it though, specially on my tile flooring in the hallways, doorways and bathrooms, but one thing was sure - performing the task with such a large amount of flooring required several breaks when the motor obviously became too hot to continue. (Your thoughts, if you own one are most welcomed.)

- 9 - I'm thankful for this white frothy cuppa sweetness! I gave up these and other things for lent, and boy oh boy was I ever thankful for this special and unexpected serving placed before me! Yum! Yum! 

It's a ceremonial thing for me, not to be indulged in too often, but slowly savored when present. Bliss! 

- 10 - I'm thankful for daily cell phone reminders when viewing my newest photo placed on my cell phone's home screen. This was a photo I snapped a while back through my window, one that I love to check out daily that is graced with this window decal, which has become so special to me.
It makes me smile, when every single day my cell phone offers a little reminder not only to see the sunshine in my days, but to also fill my heart with gratitude for the many, many blessings given unto me. 

As this week's Sunday epistle bible reading details;

" Dearly beloved, Every best gift, and every perfect gift is from above: coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration...."
~ 1 James 1:17

 And once again, ten - only ten out of hundreds of thankful things are offered for just a minor glimpse at some of my simple things in life ~ from me to you.

Grab a pen, grab something to jot down your favorite and thankful things today. Count your blessings and know they really do come down from the Father of lights.

Have a great week everyone! 

"People from a planet without flowers would think 
we must be mad with joy the whole time 
to have such things about us."

~Iris Murdoch