Thursday, May 31, 2007


I am published!

(Small papers cover personal information I want to keep private)

Upon our arrival home from our recent trip, we noticed straight away that the UPS man in his signature brown truck had visited and dropped off a parcel. It is nothing new to have him pop by, often a knock on the door weekly, so we all get excited when he pays us a visit wondering what has come this day.

I picked up the package the woman looking after our home graciously brought inside and set on the kitchen counter top. Immediately I noticed the name on the return address, and realized this was a package I’d been greatly anticipating for some time.

I proceeded in due haste, with full force pouncing on the package, tearing at the opening strip provided, ripping the cardboard flaps up and off altogether, until, (great excited sigh)… voila (!), my great project baby was indeed here at long last!

Please join me in being thrilled to bits, for...


Front cover

Bottom view showed here - a thick baby!
Spine features the title, volume number and my name.

Back cover - Life is Good!

Yes, I have a very personal account of this written blog of mine, in a hardcover, library bound book to hold, cherish, keep as our family account living in the east, and of course, smell the new, crispy white pages whenever desire strikes. I had to publish this past year in quarters for the volume of writing and photos. The book size I chose for volume one is 8 ½ x 11 inches, 268 pages and contains 700 photos, clip art and icons images! This book also holds (only) four months worth of my journaling (I had alot to share with family back home), a scrapbook unto itself, and oh so precious already to the entire family here.

I was given the tip for such a project from a friend when she featured her copy on her own blog. I pranced over the website in due order with flying fingers, knowing this is what I always had envisioned as a final project to get my writing into a book form for keeps. I used the website called “Blurb”, the only website in business at this time who can “slurp” up an entire blog right into their free download program on my hard drive.

Copyright and Dedication page

At first I had familiarize myself and learn to navigate through the program, biting my lip often as I made error after error and thought I’d deleted photos or writing when selecting from the many page formats available. I attempted to keep one blog writing per page, although there were some taking up three, four or more pages. I analyzed each writing and its accompanying photos, deciding how I would have them displayed for the final printing. With the ability to blow up, widen, collage and edit the photos to something complimentary to the writing, many of the photos had to be shrunk for a reasonable fit into each page.

Finally the project came to an end, all the text and photos edited to my liking, and then it was time to create the dust jacket front, back and inside flaps for the completion of this mammoth project. As if the time taken to edit the book wasn't a long suffering endeavor, somehow it created great frustration when it wouldn’t upload to the website for printing. How could this be?

After several emails back and forth for customer service and assistance, I found out the title on the cover couldn’t contain any quotation marks, and guess what my blog title has. This simple and final tip allowed the entire book contents to upload and I was able to order it immediately. After several weeks of waiting with baited breath, alas, the package sat winking at me, teasing me, and snickering too, on the kitchen counter. Aha! I must admit, now that I'm able to navigate its computer program, the next few volumes will be much easier than the first clumsy walk through the publishing world. In fact, I am eager to continue with more, knowing all will have the same colored covers, titles and dedications, however only the photos will change, featuring ones from the time period the volume book contains.

I would like to pass along a tip for you with the website “Blurb” . I noticed they can produce and publish many assorted types of books, everything from cookbooks, stories, wedding and baby albums, blogs, and so much more, I now have a son writing furiously to complete his well loved and long desired goal to have a book published someday. Since “BLURB” offers a free downloadable program, one can upload directly from a word processor, add photos or drawings in the computer, or from the scanner, create a dedication page, about the author page, introductions and so much more. Many features are within the program itself to create a hassle free publishing experience. As well, anyone can offer their works to the Blurb community for purchase, thereby spreading the work of the author around and gathering feedback for their efforts. (I have chosen to keep my personal book private and therefore it is unavailable to the public.) Take a peak and see what you might be able to make your own next project. Oh, and if writing a story is your thing, here’s a website called “Write Guide” , offering editorial services to get your ideas into print in a smooth and effective manner.

After sharing my heartfelt thrill with you about my book, I will settle on the fact I need to find the perfect spot to display my precious and irreplaceable blog, now in print, something I am so honored to present to my dear family. The final fruits of my labor are now in our hands as a forevermore account of our journey and time in the east.

I am so pleased to present this to my loving family...

I love you all!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memorial weekend, USA

As we traveled for the Memorial Day long weekend family annual gathering on Cape Cod, MA, it hardly seemed possible to believe five years have already lapsed since our brother in law Doug passed away.

Arriving at the Masspike

Owning a home on the Cape was a dream for my sister and her husband, and they were able to realize this dream nine years ago. While their careers were in downtown Boston, living at the Cape house was virtually impossible at first, therefore they decided to use it for a secondary source of income for the upkeep of the home, renting it out to other families during peak seasons near the seashore. The goal was to move there permanently some day when retirement was at hand, and both dreamed of being able to host and entertain family and friends at that time. As fate would have it, Doug succumbed to esophageal cancer and lost his battle at the young age of 52. Upon his death, my sister and her grown children decided to make “Memorial” long weekend, the last weekend every May, a time for family to gather and realize this dream, also becoming a tribute to his memory with friends one evening during the weekend. This year my sister spoke about not only the memory of her husband, but also mentioned each of us has someone we wish to remember who has touched our lives in some special way, so why not use the Memorial weekend to foster this significant occasion in our hearts each year.

Entering Cape Cod near "Sandwich"

Traffic entering the Cape was heavily backed up on every major route, each one merging into another, obviously many folks were on their way to kick off their summer as children in the US were off school the day before. With the ocean a short distance away from the home, the smell of salt water was evident and the smell alone created a seashore environment of summer thoughts. Bring it on!

Once the children were settled in for the evening, the older looking after the younger, the adults headed off to the “Captain’s Table” to enjoy the ocean views while having a few appetizers.

The “Figawi Sailboat Race” was about to commence the next morning, so the docks outside were filled with sailors kibitzing and making visits back and forth to the outside buffets set up for them all at the restaurant beneath of us. Sailboats speckled the water, hundreds of them as they docked for the evening, and water taxis were bringing still more to shore to join the evening’s celebrations.

The 36th Annual Figawi Race Weekend is recognized as a top sailing event not only on the east coast but is known nationally as well as internationally. Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season. Entries include sailors from several states -240+ boats (including 30 power boats) and over 3,000 sailors and visitors, as well as locals, attend this event.

The planning for this annual weekend event is huge, and we are so grateful to all for their hard work to host such a pleasant, memory-making affair. Thank you Helen, Amber, JM and all.

Late picture together,
younger children were in bed.

The next morning, all hands were on deck assisting in the preparations for the late afternoon and evening attendance of many friends joining the family. The deck was transformed into an outdoor living room, all looking marvelous and so very inviting!

Our niece was in charge of the menu planning for the weekend, and a Mexican flair was the theme for the weekend with yummy foods to savor any appetite. To add to the table, Haik brought his cooler filled with fresh oysters, shucking them and serving all on a platter with fresh lemon slices.

Fresh Oysters

The cleaning lady and her husband were dressed as butlers, assisting the kitchen and serving beverages from a makeshift bar area outdoors. Latino music filled the air with the sun shining on the evening’s festivities.

The yearly traditional lilac tree planting, a favorite tree to Doug, was changed a bit. Rather than plant another tree, the fifth one from last year was “watered” in his honor instead. It was a fitting remembrance, emotions all over the map surprising us all. The friends gathering there have been tremendous with valuable and treasured relationships running deep, all enjoying their time together.

The children were so happy to be together, little cousins knew the big kids would be their buddies for the entire weekend. Playing baseball outside, a game of mini golf, walking in the sand, taking a nap each day, seeing a huge train set taking up almost an entire basement, and other assorted fun stuff, it soon became a nonstop play date weekend of memories.

Like gypsies we moved our caravan up the coast to Plymouth, nestling into our host’s home ocean side. How can anyone not love waking up to sunrises in the living room, beach walks, and fresh salty air?

Overlooking Plymouth ocean shores

It beats me how this million dollar view could get any better. Here in this home we took up the entire top floor, remaining the next two nights with the windows open, listening to the waves lapping up on the shore. Terrrific!

Cookout with hubby's homemade burgers

Visits with family continued, however they drove to Plymouth to visit with us there, enjoying the beach, having cookouts and sunset appreciations. The children roamed the water’s edge, were soaking wet in their clothing, played hacky-sac, and ran with fairy ribbons on their wrists so they bounced and floated in the windy breeze, loving it all.

Oceanside fun with views and fairy ribbons

Time together is the key, and time together is such a gift.

Memorial Day (USA) Prayer

We recall today the words of Jesus,
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
they shall be called the sons and daughters of God.”
As we remember all who have died because of war,
Inspire the leaders of all nations
To turn away from war and work for peace.
Help us also to live in peace with one another,
And with peoples of every nation, race and creed.
Bless this food we share
As we celebrate this day with our family and friends.


...much more to come about our trip, the sights we took in, the memories made.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The beauty of the season.

Good Morning Starshine!

Remember this song?

Good morning starshine
The earth says hello
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below

Good morning starshine
You lead us along
My love and me as we sing
Our early morning singing song

My Little Pony

My Little Pony!

Our younger daughter has resumed her horse riding lessons once more, after her many activities have now begun to trickle down to something more normal. She joins her older sister in the riding ring and is more than thrilled to be back!

This week the weather allowed for the lesson to take place in the outdoor paddock, and what a lovely change it was from the bitter cold indoor riding all winter long. This young gal’s assigned horse was a pony named Chester, one she had already ridden before and one so small and so cute, it was just her size. Our older daughter however was able to ride and experience a new horse to the barn, an seven-year-old "Chestnut Gelding" named “Montana” and what a lovely horse he was! One other gal was with them this week though she moves away and won’t be continuing lessons any longer, leaving the two sisters together weekly from now on.

One of the new foals was prancing about in the paddock next to the riding lessons, curiosity gaining momentum as the foal peaked through the fencing upon occasion, until his mother would direct him away again.

When the lessons were over, the girls removed the horse’s tack and spent a longer than normal time inside the barn grooming the shedding hair from the horses bodies. A slight traffic jam in the barn with four horses being groomed made for an interesting congestion in the hallways, however with the breezy air filtering through the doorways, no one seemed to mind.

With a big wide grin on her face, our younger daughter made her way back to the van, very satisfied with her “horse fix” for the week, that is until tomorrow when they watch the horse “Daisey” next door continue to get broken in by its owner, our neighbor.

Find Your Wings

Traditional Birthday Breakfast
with mom & dad

The following are the lyrics to the song called "Find Your Wings" by; Mark Harris. My friend Denise introduced me to this song and I "knew" it would be the one for a photo video we had produced to show at our thirtieth wedding anniversary evening. It was just perfect! Enjoy!

Find your Wings

It’s only for a moment
that you are mine to hold
the plans that heaven has for you
will all to soon unfold
So many different prayers I’ll pray
for all that you might do
but most of all I’ll want to know
your walking in the truth
and If I’ve never told you
I want you to know
As I watch you grow

(chorus) I pray that God will
fill your heart with dreams
and that faith gives you the courage
to dare to do great things
I’m here for you
whatever this life brings
So Let my love give you roots
and help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
that moves you through your days
And may convictions keep you strong
guide you on your way
may there be many moments
that make your life so sweet
but more than memories

It’s not living
if you don’t reach for the sky
I’ll have tears as you take off
But I’ll cheer as you fly

I will give you roots
And I will help you find your wings


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another birthday boy today!

Birthday Blessings To Our Son

Celebrations are terrific around the family table, living room or a festivity including other family or friends.

Today we cheered on our son who turned ten years old, one week exactly after his older brother celebrated his own birthday, now he is formally a double-digit number in the scale of life’s timeline.. He shared with us this was a very special day, for he feels so much older now. In turn we teased him by mentioning he looked the same as yesterday, but in the future, he will never be a single digit number in age again.

There was a potluck after church today with the parish, so one of the things we brought along was a cake for all to enjoy. Two days ago we bought a delicious ice cream cake for both the boys together when the older one preferred to wait a bit for his cake, so the boys shared it together. Rather than have the cake dedicated solely for the birthday boy today, we included other intentions of the day into the fun; the priest’s own birthday and all the successful First Communion candidates who were being tested by the priest as well, one being our youngest daughter (she passed by the way - huge grin!). It seems we've been celebrating all week long with birthdays, cake, more cake, breakfast with mom and dad for the birthday boys, and more. Wow, what a party!

“Best wishes to all” became the slogan instead, though both he and our priest blew the candles out together. Soon after a rip roaring game of baseball tugged everyone outdoors for fun and exercise before heading home five hours after we had arrived. What a great time we all had! Once home later on, he was able to open a few beloved gifts, eager and so very thankful to everyone.

What's a birthday without some ice cream,

... a whole cake of it!

When I shared in the last birthday son’s post about not being able to have children when we desired to, this son came into our world 5 ½ years after his older sister. Wow, what a long time we had to wait for this son’s arrival into our family! All were so very happy when he did finally arrive though believe me! With big sister living away from home, working and attending university, she called home often just so he could hear her voice and know her. So very sweet! Then, his big brother was drafted to play hockey away from home, quite a way from home when he was only a few months old. Yes, times were changing in our family, shifting gears for all remaining in the family nest. It was a huge adjustment for all.

For the record, this was the only pregnancy in all eight where something natural from start to finish happened, the only child not forcefully induced, coming on his own from start to finish in just over two hours after the waters broke. A few minutes after midnight, placenta waters broke and landed all over the floor. Not having had this situation with the other six children, my hubby froze and wondered what to do next. He bounded from bed and called the hospital to get a wise word from the nurse, as I sat laughing hysterically from the bathroom. No contractions began for an hour, but by then we headed into the hospital and he was born just over an hour later. In shock from the short labour and time in the building itself, we both sat dumbfounded at this new little miracle making himself quite comfortable in our arms.

We stayed up all night just adoring our new babe.

Our new baby with his family

This child, just like our others has a story unique to him, one we’ve not shared with too many before now. When just a few mere weeks old, he was quite fussy one evening and was having difficulty settling down. A few hours had transpired with no luck for this little fellow to get some well-deserved rest, when I finally placed him gently into our stroller I kept in the kitchen. While rolling him back and forth with my foot, I continued with my paperwork at hand on the table easily within reach of him if he needed a wee pat or a loving touch. His older brother was in the kitchen with me having a snack, while everyone else already tucked away in bed, and my hubby was out of town.

Just my uncle and me...

When he was beginning to settle down finally, the moaning and whining stopped. His older brother came our way with food in hand, glancing down at him and chatting a moment when he realized his baby brother’s eyes were open, but he was non-responsive when our older son’s hand moved back and forth across his open eyes. I was unaware that he had opened his eyes at all and caught the scene, suppressing a panicked scream in my throat. I picked up our baby realizing he was still unresponsive, eyes open, and in one quick motion, his older brother instinctively began to scream his name as loudly as he could, while I turned him over and patted him greatly to get him out of whatever he was doing. Our baby’s eyes seem to quickly roll back, suddenly taking a deep gasping breath of air, and then he began to cry again. I held him close, examined him greatly, and realized I had no vehicle at my disposal to have him checked out. His pulse seemed normal, temperature normal, but both older son and I wondered what in the world had just happened. As if in shock, and using some common sense, I did call the hospital to explain what we had just experienced asking (begging) for any advice they could give to me. For the most part the advice I was given was to monitor him for the next several hours, and if it happened again get to the hospital for medical observation.

A mother knows when something was too strange for words. A mother knows when her child just needs to be near. This child was with me all night long, laying with me in bed, nursing when he wished to, but I wasn’t going to sleep a wink! No way! In fact, the protective instinct was so severe; I never slept for two nights in a row, afraid it would happen again if I did. I was a fatigued and exhausted basket case after that, and the daytime hours were difficult for fighting catnapping temptations. I shudder to think I may not have had this child today if his older brother did not bend down exactly when he did, to alert me to the situation which occurred in a split second!

So, this child, this blessing of a son became one very special fellow for some time, and holds a dear place in our hearts just like the rest of his siblings. Turning ten today makes me wonder where the time has gone.

Just eighteen months after his own birth, his sister arrived and he was so delighted with her, his new friend and special buddy. He became so protective of her, and attempted to become the man of the house before two years old in such as way as this. It was funny to see him tend to her needs, his little pal. He has such a tender heart, cares so deeply for all his family that he has to be calmed down at times for the passion he exudes. He tries to be “all boy”, Mr. Macho Man, and yet underneath it all, he’s a very sweet and wonderful boy.

There’s always been a child who seems to get into the most trouble; this one was walking in the footsteps of his older brother Adam. Where there was something to be curious about, he was there in the midst of it all. Where trouble was, he was there. But in it all when I would ask him, “what were you thinking?”, his answers were surprisingly logical. Soon though no matter if he were in the center of mischief or far from it, it seemed as though he was often blamed for things he never did or was not even involved in. Amazing how that happens, a blemish in the reputation for all eternity seems to follow children like this around, which is so unfair.

Where there needs to be compassion, his tender heart would lead others to feel the same and react upon their emotion following him on his course to something greater. A whiz at so many things, he has so many talents and gifts to offer. In the future, I’m very much looking forward to another man of the house when his older brother (the sixteen year old) leaves home someday, another son to place his chin upon the top of my head and hold me close. Like the book, I would hope he remembers the special moments we had reading; “I’ll love you forever” by Robert Munsch, when the little baby boy was sung the tune below by his mother each evening, and then as he grew and his mother aged, he later had her on his knee in her olden age and sang the song to her in return. So very touching!

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

As the time rolls on, and each day passes, it always amazes me how much love a mother feels for each of her children. Like special packages, they arrive with great care, grow with the help of families who adore them, and each has their very own place in our hearts. For me being a mother, there has never been a time when too many children became a problem with the love I had to offer each one. As the family grows, so too does the fountain of love one is blessed withto groom the many children along the path to double-digit land and beyond.

This photo always makes me giggle, as he pointed to is and announced; "That was a good hair day!" to all... snicker, snicker. Out of the mouths of babes, where did he get that from?

Happy Birthday Son!

One decade old today, and a bright and sunny future ahead of you to go

…God willing.

We love you!