Thursday, September 30, 2010

worn beloved childhood friend

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse

"It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.

"When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time.

That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.

But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

-By Margery Williams, from The Velveteen rabbit

( This 54 year old beloved and well worn bunny, belongs to my husband, though adopted by all of our children who have always compared him to the imaginary "Velveteen Rabbit".)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

rub a dub dub

Ever since our bunnies enjoyed (and even delighted) in their spa day so very much, our daughter decided our two (girlie) dogs also deserved to be pampered similarly.

Off she went, filling up the small doggie designated swimming pool, attempting to create a warm temperature for their bath, rather than produce a freezing dip from the cold water coming solely from the garden hose.

Both garden hose and buckets of hot water filled the pool to the desired height.

With shampoo, Qtips, toothbrushes, hair brushes, and clippers assembled, all required items were ready.

Bathing and performing hygienic measures on a dog is a far cry from that of a bunny. And, if you've ever bathed a dog before, then you would know the biggest dilemma comes at that very moment when a dampened dog feels the overwhelming desire to shake off all the water on her body, spraying anyone and everyone in their midst. And ours did. Boy oh boy did they ever!

Wet as one would expect from such an endeavor, our daughter finally just bent down on both knees, not caring any longer about getting wetter, and began making an even better spa time memory while shampoo massaging these dogs of ours.

Needless to say, even with the added precaution of having them on a long lead rope, both didn't move during their bath. In fact, both closed their eyes in sheer enjoyment, relishing in the moments with this young gal hovering over them, pampering them to bits.

And, at the end of their girlie hour, both pranced about showing off their fluffiest fur ever, their gleaming teeth and faces, and promptly laid to sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

Sweet doggie dreams (no doubt) were in progress for the rest of the day. And, one very satisfied gal was pleased to provide such contentment.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

on the topic of grandchildren

Being a member of the "Grandparent Club" presents a whole other area in life where one is left completely in awe, with gentle reminders of the continued circle of life, the blessings of new progeny, and an abundance of joyful grace obtained within an entire family.

When we were able to travel to Vancouver this year in early April, we had hoped to capture and update ourselves together with our grandchildren. And we loved being able to do that.

We were thrilled to treasure our new (as we were) photo when returning home, one where we were surrounded by all our giggling lovelies at our grand-daughter's horse party, in that now historical moment.

Little did we know, just a few weeks later, another bundle of joy was about to be announced, leaving this photo of all of us together, already out of date.

Nana & Grandpa and grandchildren sharing a moment

Technology has come such a long way since I birthed our eldest some 33 years ago now. Even after having many other children in the years following, and even since my pregnancy with our youngest 11 year old daughter, things have sure changed! And for the better.


may I introduce you to our newest grandbaby? Well, this new grandbaby hasn't even been born yet, but rather alive and well - still in utero!

Ever since we received an EMAIL with the photo announcement with an image of a pregnancy stick showing two very distinct pink lines, technology has played a huge role in keeping us, the grandparents, living over 4000 miles away from this new wee bundle of huge blessings in the loop.

Through the months, our daughter has continued to ride the techno-wave enabling her to keep us informed in all ways, and in turn we await anxiously for each new weekly email showing her self professed - growing "baby bump".

Yes, many baby tummy photos later, this wee one is now twenty-two weeks in utero, and best of all, we've been able to watch this little one growing, at least outwardly via our very own little mama.

Several weeks back a new kind of technological advancement came our way with a "Quicktime attachment audio" of the baby's heartbeat! How great is that! It was as if we were present, right in the room with our daughter at her doctor appointment! Ever cool! :)

And then, this week's email was something else again - not one but two 3D images, showing us the beauty and blessing of the medical world's increasing enhancements on LIFE, keeping us ultra aware that - indeed it is a gift, so very PRECIOUS from the womb to the tomb, and it should never be taken for granted. Not ever!

Our newest grandbaby is due to be birthed on January 26th, 2011 but we feel as though we've already met her.

Yes - HER!

Amazingly, technology has allowed us to witness the incredible wonder and absolute gift of being able to meet and greet a baby still in utero.

Our grandbaby GIRL is growing beautifully in her mommy's womb. Her name is "Paige", and goodness, her daddy and big sisters are over the moon awaiting her arrival. And so are the rest of us.

Even all the way over in the east, I am already feeling smitten over this wee one living on the Westcoast, and so appreciating every little thing our daughter is sending technology-wise over cyber space. She is always thinking about us way over here, and continuing to find ways to bless her parents and siblings in ways unimagined merely a few years ago.

Thank you little mama. :) We love you ... and Paige!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our acorn nut picking party

We're having a party.

We're having an acorn collecting, nut picking party all week long.

Please do come along and join the fun. The kettle will be whistling. And the tea piping hot.

Uniquely ours for the taking, my oh my, there are acorns spewed all over the ground under each oak tree on our property.

In the front garden beds, the ones nearer to our front doors, I discovered cheery chippies (chipmunks) beginning to hoard their winter storage supply of acorns.

Evidence was everywhere, especially those perfect little ripe acorns partially entered into holes on their way towards the vast tunnel systems beneath the bark mulch.

Little do they know, but those chipmunks whose preference it is to make their winter homes under our gardens, will be required to move their residences.


Did you know a chipmunk can actually chomp through a home's concrete foundation over time?

This is the only danger that I am aware of at this present time for having them so near to the house, this and the fact that their cousin squirrels love to make their winter home in attics.

Our acorn picking party has resulted in one large completely filled basket thus far. It may not look like much in the photos, but besides this load, there is plenty more where they came from, especially as they continue falling from treetops onto our forest floor.

It's that time of year, when harvest comes for all God's creatures, yes for sure - those he created both big and small.

Little by Little

"Little by little" an acorn said
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed;
"I am improving day by day
Hidden deep in the earth away"

Little by little each day it grew;
Little by little it sipped in the dew;
Downward it sent out a thread-like root;
Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot;
Day after day, year after year,

Little by little the leaves appear;
And the slender branches spread far and wide,
Till the mighty oak is the forest's pride.

"Little by little" said a thoughtful boy
"Moment by moment I'll well employ,
Learning a little every day,
And not spending all my time in play

And still this rule in my mind shall dwell
"Whatever I do, I will do it well'

Little by little I'll learn to know
The treasured wisdom of long ago
And one of these days perhaps we'll see
That the world will be the better for me."

And do you not think that this simple plan
Made him a wise and useful man."


Monday, September 20, 2010

seasonal grooming on our property

If one doesn't trim back the forest, over time it closes up on them again. And has our forest ever required taming this from this summer's seasonal growth!

Completing our front landscaping work area was one of the best decisions we made in this home, at least one direct portion of our land groomed and looking tidy.

There is such as thing as "natural" , but of course, when one lives amongst the critters in a forest setting, it's lovely to have some light filter through, but not only that, one wonders in a strong wind if one of those rotten branches way up high might not pose a safety issue for another standing below.

Note; many of the branches were barren of leaves, rotting even
and dangerous when breaking off suddenly in a strong wind.

Since we use this area within the trees here, in our "danger zone", we would shiver to think someone was gored or knocked out by one with the blow from a speedy fall.

We've literally gone from bush and brush to something more tidy, and thought all was fine and well until the two windstorms this past few weeks. Each morning we would rise to fallen branches, thick ones too, and a tree across the grass working its attempt at growing underneath.

When my hubby and I took a stroll out front, dead and center of this u-shaped circular driveway area, we noticed when we glanced upward, many of the trees had dead branches, most likely from being so crowded in the forest setting before our home was built.

A gentle pruning was necessary to trim and tame the bunch for optimal growing capabilities. So many smaller trees were choking out the more healthy.

With a can of orange spray paint, hubby and I also decided which trees would be best fallen for safety sake and future benefits to the other trees around the area.

Our son manned the chainsaw and began the task of taking the trees down, the ones in the front.

Oh, and we also had about a dozen in the back marked too.

It took most of a day to fall the trees, and get them cut to size for future firewood. It seemed a shame to have to take them down at all, but such is life amongst the forest when the only actual leafy growth was above ten feet upward on the tree trunk.

Helpers were spotty the first day while in the first stages of what ended up being two full days of work falling, cutting, chopping, hauling, breaking, and cleaning up.

A huge job!

NOW complete!

Thanks son for all your help. I know it would have been so much more work without you here, a real trooper!

Love you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

colorful inspiration

The Gift of Life

Life is an opportunity, …. benefit from it.
Life is beauty, …. admire it.
Life is bliss, …. taste it.
Life is a dream, …. realize it.
Life is a challenge, …. meet it.
Life is a duty, …. complete it.
Life is a game, …. play it.
Life is a promise, …. fulfill it
Life is sorrow, …. overcome it.
Life is a song, …. sing it.
Life is a struggle, …. accept it.
Life is a tragedy…. confront it.
Life is an adventure, …. dare it.
Life is luck, …. make it.
Life is too precious, …. do not destroy it.
Life is life, …. fight for it.

~ by Mother Theresa

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the importance of having supportive team players ...

In September,

... just when things seem to be slowing down with summer's extra curricular activities now behind us, those not always present during the schooling year, the medical appointments and tests begin anew yet again.

This week, the calendar reminds us of another appointment with my hubby's respiralogist, and again in three weeks or so, back to visit the surgeon after a morning riddled with some five hours of assorted pulmonary testing, CT scan/xrays and other medical requirements.

When the ability arrives to finally settle in to a somewhat normal mode for getting into the groove of hunkering down for the colder seasons ahead, we are reminded time after time just how fragile life really is, how short lived the whole idea of being able to "settle down" really is, especially that the kind of settling down we'd love to have seems to be short lived when watching my hubby have to fend off a nagging emotional tug of war medically.

In the back of our minds, we still wonder if/when the telephone might ring just as we have every single day this whole summer, remembering the final words of the surgeon who promised to "be in touch" in time.

There is another appointment ahead to see him (it seemed too far away back then) and with summer's swift passing, it's now almost around the corner!

Lord willing, we try everyday (!) working hard in our efforts to keep up smiley and happy hearts, and uphold very positive attitudes, forever loving life in all ways, happy and content with our lot in life, and always making a great attempt at chins up.

As we press onward, we attempt and try mightily to maintain a stress free environment less it all becomes overwhelming.

It is then when we begin realizing the need to continue filtering out all unnecessary outer "negative anything".

Oh sure they'll always be something in life, though that's not exactly what I'm speaking of.

During these past few summer months, it has fast become ever-important to remain focused on ONLY wrapping ourselves around;
  • ''cheery"
  • "prayerful"
  • "supportive"
  • "positive"
family, friends and community.

If we find ourselves floating in some unwelcome or negative circumstances, we will be forced to decide how we will be handling them and what part they might be playing in our future.

It's not an easy (or a fair) thing when one becomes placed in a position contrary to finding a lifeline comprising of a group of folks when hoping only to create a "support team", filled with those who can easily manage to remember the importance of the set criteria above.

Therefore, like any coach would be required to do, like the medical social workers at the hospital insist upon, if we simply must throw up the white flag and adopt their recommended practice, we will consider the value of benching those who might give the appearance of being on our team, but aren't able to even muster up mutual respect in offering "simple good cheer" in their/our everyday world; either in person, on the telephone, or via other methods of communications.

Apologies in advance if that sounds harsh, it's just survival mode slowly being reconciled and forced to kick in, realizing the very wise counsel from professionals who have already walked this way and seen much with others in similar medically driven positions.

With this preamble, and with only pure intention, we will become more vigilant as we step forward in slowly scouting for "our support system of team players" who might all be able to provide understanding when remembering how important the above noted precious criteria really is in the future for our entire family.

Are you in? :)

~~ Be sure to hug the ones you love!~~

Friday, September 17, 2010

In September...

In September...

...there are myriads of thoughts visiting our minds.

For most folks it is time to unwind from summer and proceed with planning for the upcoming harvest season of autumn.

In September many things on the "unattended list by the builder" are now complete. (clap,clap,clap!)

This summer, more scaffolding was hoisted up and placed once more in the same locations as last summer, where previous winter ice damning caused severe damage up there, and the spring thaw provided plenty of water leakage damage inside of our garage. To my poor hubby's chagrin, his BBQ was not available for quite some time, his favorite pastime of cooking left to indoor efforts only for a time.

Once again this year, there were ladders leaning upward against further damaged interior walls inside the garage, with drywallers working hard to replace sheet rock, checking for mold and insulation damage possibilities behind, and then re-taping and re-mudding entire areas of damage to the walls, and ceiling, where not long ago, water poured in everywhere (and I mean it broke through the ceiling, down inside of the walls, everywhere!), and buckets below were continually filling and being emptied.

The view from my kitchen sink window was something like a steel platform view, it was, with men bidding me a good morning before 7:30am.

Yesterday the drywallers came for the last time and the painters gave the walls a fresh coat of paint to cover the repaired areas any remaining staining on walls and ceiling. YEAH!

Meanwhile, with only nine bundles of shingles left in our builder's possession (because our roofing materials are no longer available), crews set out to remove the damaged areas from last year, throwing them all over the ground and sometimes atop of my new garden areas below.

In the end, they were able to create a more commercial detailing system which included thicker and higher flashing, heating coils from the front of the house to the back, (with electricians working their buzz guy magic) right over the roof to prevent more ice damning on higher portions of the upper outer walls in winter, and then wreaking havoc once the spring thaw arrives.

Just in case, the heating coil wiring even runs into the length of the downpipes, including three NEW downpipes installed to assist in the run off from the upper most roofing area, in order to avoid more ice buildup in the first place.

It was interesting to note another home built similar to ours by this same builder also had these same issues from the architectural flawed designs, theirs now repaired like ours. All good.

In September,

... we are reminded of the beauty amidst our surroundings, when there are telltale signs of seasonal changes.

The animals in the forest are foraging already, in preparation for gathering their winter's food storage fare. As our property seems to be a haven for food supply with acorns aplenty, as we scoured about removing fallen branches from this week's storm, we noticed the vast nut supply on the ground.

I'm thinking a "nut picking party" is a great idea.

Perhaps we can use these in some way, other than crafting of course. Does anyone have suggestions?

I was thinking we could even load up and redistribute into other areas of the property to deter the critters from populating one particular part of the front garden, where the animals are not welcomed to destroy it any further with new underground tunnels, making the surface all spongy and loomy again since our great landscape work was complete.

In September,

... we prepare once again for getting back to the school books, but absolutely not in sync with traditional institutional schools local to us. We prefer to wait a bit, and since we only settled on a schooling summer break in July, we can do this.

I remember myself entering into Grade 8, the first day of school being September 7th, and finding out the next day we were excused from our second day of school due to the feast day of "The Nativity of the Blessed Mother's Birthday". That always left an imprint in my mind, brought forward through the years, to honor the day as a liturgical feast day of importance into my own family still today.

And so, we continue with that tradition as we always have since beginning on this path of homeschooling twenty-one years ago now, feasting and celebrating liturgical days of importance when able, leaving September 8th as one of those very special days counted on our calendar. The norm for us most years is to formally be back into the books the Monday after this feast day, and no earlier.

The suggested on-hand curriculum and favored learning materials were spread all over my dining room for two weeks, ideas flowing and learning styles changing this year as in years passed. The school syllabus was worked on, containing yearly, monthly and weekly goals, broken down by subject and child.

A lovely liberal arts year awaits! AND, along with a few other homeschooling children, our younger ones will be attending a french class with "Madame" this year. And piano lessons will soon resume. YES!

Instead of rushing back to school, we look forward to several visits at the zoo (there's a brand new baby monkey there right now), the science museum and will head to the beach for less crowded options and more opportunity to take our time and not feeling hurried when elbow room is at a premium.

Meanwhile, in September,

  • about an acre of grass requires a feeding (on foot using a spreader - now DONE!)
  • the bird feeders see a change of food to attract new birds for colder weather
  • the windshield washer and bags of salt used in the water softening system are stocked up again for winter

  • the undercoating protective shield has been applied to both vehicles (smelly!)
  • some of the summer floral annuals have been pulled out and replaced with autumn mums for further seasonal beauty outdoors
  • ice hockey gear had to be replaced in a big way! Our 13yo son grew so much in just a few months, his foot four sizes larger than his skates, let alone all the other gear we've scrambled to replace with either older sibling hockey stashes saved for this purpose or having to purchase a few pieces. Tryouts were last night. Hockey Fever our way is once again about to begin! :)
  • we prepare for another horse show next weekend as our younger daughter will be participating in a fall fair competition. She and the other young ladies from the barn are so excited!
  • our second oldest (married) son arrived here this week, currently visiting on his own for a few days. There are a few projects he'll be assisting us with, so good to have his company and capable hands here to offer us a little help.

In September,'s always a juggle to get everyone back into the groove of all things schedule and routine, though the summer was filled with routines and busyness. It's just not the same when one wakes to a dark rainy day, or realizes how tired they are not having to rise early and get out of the door. As the days slowly become shorter and everyone begins to get to bed earlier, a different type of routine is well on its way.

... the fruits from our summer labors are realized, the decluttering, the donations to "Freecycle" leave imprints with added room and the feeling of "organized" in our minds.
We filled two vehicles to the brim with oodles of offerings for others to take home for FREE.

Rather than have all recipients who took our offers online come to our home in the country for pickup, we chose instead to load it all up and take it to a parking lot at a local shopping mall in town for them to pickup.

Over thirty folks took part in our giveaway, such a fun thing to do. Wow, as our family stood and handed over bikes, scooters, skates, clothing, books, and so many other goodies, it sure felt good to see those happy smiling faces as they scooped the items out of our hands to take them to their homes.

For the past few months, I've been going full steam ahead with the finality of settling in to this new home, even though it's been only a few months shy now of two years since our move here.

During the summer months, in between children/teens working hard at their jobs, the younger ones discovered and attended a couple of summer sport camps.

Sister taking a foul shot, while brother on opposing team watches

During those longer days in between keeping up the driving schedule and pickups, I turned off the telephone, cranked up the music and blitzed through this house like a tornado, working hard, sweating mightily and breaking new ground with all I was able to accomplish.

One of the largest projects was sorting, organizing and sifting through our vast family library. The pile below was a part of that handling when I was able to either attend a local vintage book fair as a vendor, sell many of them online, or give away and donate locally. My oh my - that felt GREAT to have behind me!

As history is our telltale, and I'm unsure of how others tick, I've found it takes me at least two years to feel the semblance of the re-rooting our lives to a new home and/or location.

Finally, I feel as though things around here are fairly much where I'm more at ease and comfortable with everything in its place and the (invisible to others, in my face to me) clutter has been lifted.

I am now much more confident about mapping out and getting around our geographical area, feeling like a local as we've now come to know short cuts to town, knowing routes to avoid during 'cottage country' peak periods, and amenities via "word of mouth" are now coming in quicker than ever.

For all of these things, I am very grateful.

In September;

... we feel led to begin preparing not only for autumn, but also for winter when strolling about the property and noting how windy storms are affecting our forest. There are about two dozen smaller trees choking out others in their surroundings, or worse yet, rotting and about to spill over.

Not long ago we woke to some fairly serious damage on the ground, and noticed a tree had broken in the night and lay on the ground.

Safety first is our motto, so we romped the main areas we trek in the most, either with lawn mowing or assorted other activities and decided to take preventative action and fall them. Better safe than sorry.

Trees falling in the night aren't our idea of the stump above as a direct result from a wind storm's damage.

As summer is almost passed, thank you for sharing my summer with me by keeping in touch, sending cheery notes via emails, texts and facebook.

As you may have figured out, many of my "summer's sweet and simple" posts were written in advance and postdated to arrive on dates selected for them to appear.

That time out allowed me the ability and luxury of additional time to blitz through my home, keep my head above water with the long awaited "what next" medical updates for my hubby, keep the feast days celebrated during summer's liturgical flow, and still allow me the true appreciation to be most utterly thankful for all of summer's many blessings.

As always, we continue to celebrate the ordinary, bound ourselves up in prayer and keep on the cheery train to the many blessings in our midst.

And finally...

I am so looking forward to the newness of yet another new season ahead.

I would love to offer you an invitation, cheering you on into the final days of - "September" to enjoy the many blessings of all its promises to the entry of another new schooling year ahead, and a wonderful springboard into the season of Autumn.