Monday, May 31, 2010

Teaching them to observe...

... At that time, Jesus said to his disciples, All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.

~ Matthew 28, 18-20

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Most people don't get to graduate twice from secondary school, but our son managed to (sort of) do something a bit like that.

He was strongly urged (mandated actually) to repeat (a passed course with final *A* marked grading), as this Province of Ontario would not recognize the one very major and mandatory graduation requirement, that of an English 12 course from outside the province.

Even though he had already "formally graduated" last year from his senior year of highschool, this course credit hung over his head for college entry specifications he hoped to pursue.

I never did contest it, he just repeated it all over again, along with approximately 200, 18-20 year old students, in search of additional college credit courses by registering in Grade 13 at a Catholic high school.

It's been a most interesting year, especially for a young man who was homeschooled throughout his entire educational years, all the way to Grade 12. Oh, the tales that came home and ended up as discussions round the dinner table... :)

Offered the opportunity to attend Prom with others, he leaped at the chance, mostly for the experience of it all.

Remember his birthday gift? The new suit?

Well here he is.

What perfect timing to be able to wear it for the first time to the prom this past Friday evening, complete with newly buffed black shoes, a spiffy hair-do, and an equally lovely dressed gal, who accompanied him for the evening.

Posing for both of the "mom" photographers present (hers and his), together, I even suggested they pose over near my new lilac tree.

Even those "shades" looked mighty fine ... snicker.

A must wear actually, with 28C outdoors and this heat wave continuing, what a beautiful evening these two had to meet up with school friends and hash over the year's memories.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weeping Lilac Tree

Give me odorous at sunrise,

a garden of beautiful flowers
is where I can walk undisturbed

~ Walt Whitman

These are the flowers from our new "Weeping Lilac Tree", the one the gardener recommended for replacement for our "Blue Spruce Tree".

When I asked if there was a lovely scent to them, he responded with "not too much", but oh boy, happy to report he was actually incorrect on that, perhaps thinking not so much compared to other lilacs.

Lovely lilac scents are abundant and follow me as I pass the tree. Such a bonus for us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Crossing thresholds

... for entry
into adulthood and on becoming a teenager.

As a preface here;
** Canada's youth hit this milestone entry into
adulthood at age 19,
compared to the US's age of 21 years.

Happy Birthday to two of our sons -with their birthdays exactly seven days apart.

It seems tough to fathom two more of our children have now crossed these particular thresholds, milestones for sure.

Wearing his new tshirt and sporting an NHL 2010 video game prezzie from K. , the afternoon nacho snack appeased all.

When able around his schedule, he and my husband were a few days later, off to purchase his first
men's suit, a new shirt and a classy tie. Tailoring was necessary, photos to come...

The traditional birthday breakfast was excused because instead, he opted for a birthday dinner with mom, Dad and K. He chose the restaurant -
East Side Mario.

A piece of cake with a sparkler came round, a chair was swung toward our table, and quite a few people began waving him to jump onboard.

Way up high, they sang ... a VERY long song!

Surely with all our giggles and laughter, we will remember this day - forever.

Home afterward, all awaited and were eager for more cake, an ice cream cake, your favorite. You've never been too full for more (hollow leg), so together with everyone else, we joined in the continued feasting, celebrating this new "adult" milestone birthday.

Happy Birthday Son!


Fast forward one week where we had another threshold crossing, that of tween to teen.

Another child has become a teenager in our home!

Wow, where did time go?

The traditional birthday-child breakfast took place as per usual. He too chose a family favorite restaurant - Cora's

A photo snap with Dad followed and made the tradition complete.

As tradition also holds the ability for the birthday child to order anything off the menu, he chose wisely and enjoyed a waffle, with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, a rather large plate full of food precluded by a berry/yogurt smoothie.

LEGO prezzies unwrapped, happily he spent much of the day building and playing with his new sets.


Our youngest son is growing.

Soon he will be a man.

Reminder to self - DO NOT BLINK!

Happy Birthday Son!

Two of his friends (brothers) came to visit and spend the following night as our guests, all three boys taking time for an overdue visit because they live so far away and don't see one another too often.

Best of all?

They were the first to use the fire pit.

Seasonal Changes Out My Window

Wondering ...

Can you spot the difference between these two photos, not just seasonal changes but something else?

If you guessed that the Blue Spruce tree is now gone from its former spot, and been replaced with something else, you've guessed right!

Not only was this tree in dire need of moving away from our home to avoid damage to our concrete foundation by its ever growing and spreading roots, so too were two other "Shade Masters" further along in the same beds near our front door.

What were the former owner/builders thinking by planting such a tree in this garden area?

Weighing a mere 200 pounds (!), the blue spruce was a real laborious job to move. And the other two weighed upwards towards the same poundage.

We actually couldn't do this duty ourselves and hired out. So happy we did that!

Not sure though just what to replace all three trees with, it was off to garden center we went. A lovely suggestion came by way of the garden center landscaper who recommended a "Weeping Lilac Tree" for replacing the spruce, and "Flowering Almond Trees" for replacing the "shade masters".

What a difference these will make, no more concerns over how they might damage our home in the future.

We just love them, so pretty and delicate with their lovely pink blossoms and mauve lilac coloring.

Three weeks later, I'm happy to report, even with our tremendous heat wave since, all are thriving in their new spots. Yay!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


There are often times when one becomes more grateful as time passes, like about right now after having the ability to delve and plunge deeply into our springtime bird study.

We learned so much!

And as before, we are still eager and ever-spontaneous bird watchers, serious birdie lovers even more because of our active study pursuits and appreciation for flying friends.

My new birdie punch is a favorite

Similarly, there are reminders of how fragile our bird friends can be, like when I washed all my windows and almost daily since, a resounding "thud" of yet another bird hitting the pane of glass occurs.

Most are just stunned for a time, lose a few feathers in the frenzy of their fall to the ground, but this week we had a dead birdie on our front stoop after it hit a top floor window and broke its neck upon the fall to the cement below.

Poor little thing! So sad.

For a moment, let your mind try to capture what sensory sounds you might encounter and experience amidst the center of a bird-like rainforest.

Presently, the birding activity early in the morning is something else here on our property, much like that of a rainforest no doubt.

When we rise, we are greeted with a melodic and super sweet lulling chorus of birdie sing song, offering such a
fittingly peaceful, and spa-like relaxing ambiance to the start of our day.

And while we are incredibly appreciative of those nature-scape soft sounds on our property, if we're lucky, we may by chance, also spot a few feathery friends as they visit our feeders, even if only ever briefly.

I'm in love with all the new birds I've been introduced to while living in the east, those I had never encountered before.

To date, there are almost 80 new to us.

This week, we enjoyed a few visits from rose breasted grosbeaks. A pair of them taking turns at the feeder as one watches overhead to protect the other during a feeding session.

It was quite interesting to find out through a local naturalist that these particular feathery friends are a rare couple to have around, especially being that they travel over 3000 in winter to live in Central and South America?

I'm thrilled to know they chose to live nearby, even if only temporarily.

We were sitting, maybe, 10 feet away near our fire pit.

Both weren't fearful of us sitting in their midst, and were very photogenic for me to capture them in their natural form while chomping down some of the white seed next to their perches.

I'm smitten over these two new friends, noticing how often they keep returning over the past few days along with many other varieties.

It is my hope this pair are actually thinking of nesting nearby. Oh wouldn't that be wonderful to see them with baby grosbeaks?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Robin's Egg Blue

Robin sits in the apple tree

Singing sweetly down to me.
She tells me of her cozy nest
In the tree she likes the best.

She tells me that her robin mate
And she herself can hardly wait --
They have four blue eggs, you see,
That soon will be their family

They'll live together in their cozy nest
In the tree that they love best.
Happy in her apple tree,
Robin sings here news to me!

~ Author unknown

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

Time for another installment of my
"Ten Things" to be thankful for, always varied, always random bits in positively NO particular order.

I've been remiss about keeping up my nostalgic weekly thankful posts, so you'll have at least two thrust upon you over the coming week. Hope you don't mind...she says with a sheepish grin.

We've been consumed with work on our property, filling our mornings with end-of-year schooling amidst many indoor organizational and decluttering check list goals. I'll be sharing about all of it just as soon as I can. There is much to tell...

Without further ado, let me present my "Ten Thankful Things", just sparks of thankfulness appearing in my days this past week.

Please know for certain that my own personal thoughts on true thankfulness can obviously never be offered, nor delivered in true completeness within one simple post.
And in case you just might find it interesting and want even more today, you can always skip along to view other "thankful" posts by clicking onto the archives located - right HERE.

- 1 - I'm thankful for little visits from the forest, even though at times they are pesky and tease our dogs to bits. I snapped this photo a short while ago and since then all of the leaves are back on this tree. A chance shot for sure.

This is a "fox squirrel", high up in the tree found visiting just over three weeks ago and returning a few times since.

I caught him there, noisy as can be, perhaps calling a friend to come and play. Soon after, another did show up, and both circled round and round the tree chasing each other, all such fun entertainment when caught in action.

- 2 - I'm thankful for the view through this window near my bedside chair early in the morning when the sun seems to accent the scenery there just so.

The first photo was snapped three weeks ago, the second yesterday. and now carries an abundance of spectacular and much greener peaceful vista to gaze at through the narrow window nearby.

It's certainly been a pleasure to observe the changes every morning while sipping a hot cup of coffee, saying my morning prayers and offering up my day for whatever it holds in our family.

- 3 - I'm thankful for natural cleaners used over the years, even though they cost more, even though others make fun of me for being very careful about what enters our home chemical wise. Go ahead and laugh, or poke fun at me...snicker, but if we can all be a wee bit healthier for ridding our home of chemical airborne nasties, I'm all for it. Health of each family member becomes affected by our surroundings, both environmental and inflictions from our own hands. The question we can all explore and revisit upon occasion is; Are we possibly doing the best we can to provide a "safe" living and clean air environment for our families? I'm sure we all hope we are, and a little bit more education might not hurt to ensure it is so.

Here's a tip for you, an explosive read.... "Rub a dub dub, Cancer in the tub". I think you can google it if you're at all interested. I guarantee though, you sure won't see some things the same way afterward. I didn't.

A tip from three local RN nurses who work emergency room shifts at the local hospital...
World's WORST offender for respiratory issues - those nasty regular or plug in air freshners will send your loved ones to emergency FAST with asthma-like breathing problems, now the number one reason why one local hospital sees children in emergency. Also mentioned were pets reacted similarly.

Loving but often innocently misinformed, parents seem to place them in their child's nursery, and around their home to spray a mist of scent about to keep the air "fresh". This can actually be very harmful. I would implore you after hanging around respiratory wards over the past ten years, and having children with severe airborne allergies to learn from as well before this timing, PLEASE get rid of those just as fast as you can.

Cleaning our homes isn't about owning all the chemicals sold to us on the market, although I'm sure we all have our very favorites and find it hard to change them.

- 4 - I'm thankful for my new coffee pot, ending the saga of press button at least five times for two cups of coffee on our former one. I opted for a simple one because I'm not a flavor coffee person, taking it black as usual.

My biggest change is a latte, or a half sweet vanilla latte. My personal preference was to buy a grand expresso machine to pump out many wonderful frothy hot cuppas and then realized my latte/special drink coffee dates with my husband wouldn't any longer be as special from overuse.

Still a sweet thing for me is my photo collage mug shown in the picture. The coffee was a gift, not my usual brand at home, thankful for the thoughtfulness of the one gifting it to me.

- 5 - I'm thankful for continued attempts at artistry sessions from young ones living here. Sweet displays continue decorating the rooms of our home.

And then, one young daughter discovered the printer for copying her original art, placing it in her "art portfolio".

- 6 - I'm thankful for a relieved outcome of having to rush our older son to emergency two weeks ago. He had been fending off a very high fever, and didn't want to worry me by disclosing it. When he returned home from a work shift, he seemed so dazed to me.

When he came close to bid me goodnight, I could feel his heated skin before we connected with our usual goodnight cheek kissing. As a mother always has an instinctive adrenaline boost for what to do, I was thrust into action for the 24 hours, concerned over a grown up son thinking it was just his wisdom teeth cutting in, just as another son had happen to him with an emergency removal of all four quite suddenly.

Not sure of his direct symptoms other than a fever, his body was definitely fighting something, but what? I checked all things; ears, throat, appendix, neck, appendix thoughts, asked pertinent questions, kept tabs, cut foods and upped liquids.

When the thermometer hit 104, and he had finally disclosed he was feverish the day before I found him with on fire skin, and after he had already been placed on strict isolation here for over 24 hours, the thought of meningitis overcame me with fear, so it was off to emergency we went, and waited and waited.

I suppose the fever broke somewhere during the wait time, probably because he wasn't all huddled in all of his blankets, got some fresh air along the way, and snoozed while waiting for the doctor to check on him. Chalk it up to a probable virus he concluded, and then we headed for home where all was well again.

Maybe it was just what we needed, to explore the local hospital for the first time, to find out it costs 7.00 to use the emergency parking lot in the event of having to use it again, and to note all the staff we encountered were quite kind and sensible. All good things to be thankful for, yet still unknown for the origin of the purpose of heading there.

- 7 - I'm thankful for
nature exploration on our very own property. Questions often arise, those similar to;
  • "Who might be living here?"
  • "Where did those little rabbits disappear?"
  • "What do you suppose this is?"
  • "What is that type of wild flower?"
Guidebooks spread all over the coffee table and curious information finders at work finding answers to property curiosities.

- 8 - I'm thankful for finding a great crafty stamping lady. I've joined her monthly technique class and now have this cute personalized plastic project holder for all my future projects to bring home.

I've felt like such a complete failure with respect to finally getting my office/craft/sewing room completely settled. I guess in some ways it wasn't mean to be for me that I remain in that particular room.

Three times I rearranged the room, moving around all five "Ikea Billy" shelves, tables and other assorted heavy items, only to have them leaning forward or sideways into one another from dips and small valleys in the concrete flooring. Crazy. Why didn't we know the floor was like this before?

I have taken photos along the way through my long saga on this particular room. I've ached and yearned to "get lost in time" in this space, and eventually, I had one of those dreams where one wakes and grabs pen and paper.

Totally inspired by dreamy thoughts, I worked like a madwoman to switch around not only this room, but three in total. I exited this "too big for me" surplus spare room, and opted to switch it with our exercise area. I am very happy in my smaller and much more cozy space. Two of the rooms are as they should be, only this one left to organize.

What a great idea born in the depths of slumber! What a whirlwind of activity to move everything around! Back to back with all our gardening complete this past week, I am so thankful I've been able to pull all this off and find out I'm actually stronger than I thought (grin, grin).

I'll be sharing soon. so happy about this work bee with a few "on call and most incredible helpers enabling it all to happen.

- 9 - I'm thankful for little surprises, like finding out this son had been awarded a trophy for his hockey team's endeavors in their final playoffs.

It came by way of another person, out of the blue, as it had been awarded while we were away in Vancouver. Totally unexpected, but it sure made his day.

It will now don a lovely spot in our "family sports room".

- 10 - I'm thankful for the tips I get from two teenagers working in grocery stores. This week's special they thought we just HAD TO HAVE was;

Buy one 10inch apple pie for 3.97 (reg. 8.99) and get one box of Chapman's vanilla ice cream for free.

There were no limits placed on amounts purchased. We bought FIVE. Not a huge pie lover myself, the teens thought we needed more. LOL

So there you have it, ten more things I'm thankful for, random thoughts for sure. See you in a few days with another installment...


Monday, May 24, 2010

Bonfire on Pentecost

Fiery RED colors filled my first thoughts for this day of Pentecost when heading off to church, wondering how many families might actually be donning the color red in their clothing this day.

Not too many were, though many faces nearby were turning RED due to the heat in the building from high temperatures throughout the day.

Our thermometers are reading 90 degrees today, higher with the humidity building. Yesterday was about the same as will be the rest of our week here. Thank goodness to attend a church with fans turned on full blast!

Summer seems to be here, or at the very least - right around the corner!

Fire and wind, two extreme elements, both represented this day.

In years passed, we've purchased a new family kite and windmills on wooden sticks for young children to catch the wind, representing the wind which roared through that upper room for the apostles warning of something ahead.

A bonfire this day was in order since our newly formed firepit was ready to enjoy and represented the fire over person's head in that same upper room.

Enjoying a family bonfire on Pentecost was a fitting end to the celebrations and feasting of the day.

Everyone happily anticipated gathering round the newly formed (carved and dug) firepit, with new cooking skewers in hand for roasting wieners and making a few delectable s'mores for dessert.

As the evening progressed, we found ourselves admidst a jungle of mosquitoes for a time, so the need to use a portable device came in handy nearby. Eventually they left us alone, thank goodness.

Birds visited nearby feeders as the sun descended for the night.

Younger children went to and fro the hockey net in the middle of the center tiered grassy area to kick a soccer ball around for a while, before returning to sit again.

Older daughter dozed off on my shoulder, enjoying a back rub during her peaceful unwind slumber moment.

My husband loved every second gazing at his perfectly built fire, happy to be able to sit outdoors as the humidity cleared for this bonfire enjoyment.

Our older son wasn't shy, he pulled out the guitar and began to serenade us with both voice and son.

A perfect end to a perfect day!