Thursday, July 28, 2011

29/52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures:
trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane --

whatever is unique to the week.

Join me if you like.

** Happy Birthday dinner for my hubby "Mandarin style", especially when not only the food was the reason for his requested (very casual) evening dinner (lobster and crab fest added in to the summer buffet), this was how he was treated by the staff when finding out it was his birthday. We even obtained a free photo inserted into a magnetized frame to bring home.

** Sisterly loving on the back porch, after a tough hot summer horse camp day at the barn and plenty of photos to review together on mom's camera. It was one of those moments when my husband's pointed at me while inside toward the window, and told me to grab the camera to preserve the moment forever. 

** The temperatures have been utterly ridiculous the past while, usually hovering around 30-35C during the day and falling to 16-23C by night. 

Upon us presently of great concern is after several days of the media claiming them to be the "hottest days on record EVER", plus humidity temperature factoring and UV ratings of 10 -11. Too hot even for the beach by day.

Our forest fire alerts are now at the "EXTREME" levels on the scales. Just viewing our back property, one can see how dry the vegetation has become, and all things lawn mowing, spark producing, and (pouting), even mosquito sapping have been unused, disassembled or turned off. 

We depend on our water from a well, as we are not hooked up to city water. Another concern is not only encountering this highest reading for forest fire alerts for the first time and wondering if our water levels will hold up during the weeks to come. Weather temperatures are not predicted to drop anytime soon, so we are saying a prayer that a few summer showers will drench the land soon.
(as this is a late post, there have been two evenings of rain this week, and we need double that yet...)

** Our bear whoas have subsided, and with all the chat amongst the folks in our little community, it appears they've left for their watering ground several miles to the west from here.

No doubt they'll be back, but in the meanwhile, the children in the area are still bike riding with whistles around their necks and walkie talkies clipped on their hips.

** Just to keep up the excitement though, we were able to take in a day at a specialized animal shelter, where resident animals came to them either injured or abandoned and will never be able to cope in the wild as they've imprinted on humans and could never tend to their own survival needs. 

The only black bear, a female, kept us busy by visiting with and entertaining us with her presence. She didn't seem too large at all for a black bear, much smaller than those in the west for certain. Still, I'm happy to report we prefer to visit with her there than come face to face with her on our property.

As we spoke with a caretaker of the animals at this sanctuary, we found out she was actually fifteen years old and it was then our children felt sorry for her, knowing she would remain there for her care for the rest of her life. 

** There is nothing quite as great as finding a perfect tree to climb when these two aren't as small as they used to be! Yes, tree climbing was a must before returning home after day was done here at the government sanctuary park. And this mother was very pleased indeed that her children, ages 14 and 12 years weren't feeling entirely too big for this activity. 

** Something ohhhh so fabulous to find! Truly it made my day to read this!

Here's what is says;

Clearance! All bad moods must go.
So come out and top up someone's parking meter, give up your seat on the bus, or just hold a door open.
All it takes is a small gesture to brighten someone's mood.
Help make the world a better place, one good deed at a time.
Go to to join the movement.

** One very lucky overcast day afforded us an afternoon at the beach, something we usually only seek out after dinner when less crowded and the hope of a sunset beckons us to our usual front road seating. 

It always amazes me how easy it is to kick back and relax with the soothing ambiance of the water's edge, where children find easy ways to create and delight in all sorts of activities in the sand. While our daughter very gently sculpts her sand creation, her brother and a neighbor friend are in the background digging all the way to China.

This is a photo snapped with my iphone, one that nevertheless shows the winner of the most detailed and fantastic sand creation we've seen this year. Creators were a family of seven adults who claimed to have spent seven hours forming, carving, and gathering embellishments for this super endeavor.

Later in the evening they set several tea light candles inside and serenaded the evening by enjoying their hard work before them, very protective of all who came to catch a glimpse of it.

Success is the sum of small efforts, 
repeated day in and day out. 
~ Robert Collier

Enjoying the water vessels, and the boardwalk activity while sitting for a wee rest on the black wrought iron park bench, and boat/people watching. There is nothing finer than the feel of a gentle breeze whipping off the water during an extra warm evening stroll. 

** A threatening rain came via dark clouds, and the gift of a beautiful rainbow blessed our evening.

** It's been a long while since we've attended a live play. After the invitation arrived this spring to attend with friends, the day finally arrived and what a great time we had with our out of town guests who we were also able to have over while visiting the area for a few days. The play was near the water, a lovely day for an air conditioned matinee with golf cart valet service (perfect for our lady friend with her walker), followed by a lovely reunion dinner meeting up with another couple who were able to join the fun. 

One person from each couple has attended the same hospital as my husband for respiratory care, and all had some real fun stories about their time while in residence together. Great memories and plenty of laughs were so touching with this bunch all together outside of their usual meeting location. 

Quiet memories with a friend, 
are the fondest memories of the soul.

~ Katie Walters

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

(late..) 28/52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures:
trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane --

whatever is unique to the week.

Join me if you like.

This post comes later than obviously anticipated. Summer has been whizzing by, but there are smiles on our faces as the days offer plenty of non-scheduled school work and mom wanting the children to hit the books. Dare I say, this mother is indeed very much enjoying the break.
May I present my 28/52 weeks, though late, and assure you that my 29/52 is all loaded and almost ready to upload for your viewing pleasure also.

**Rolling hills of canola are currently in full sunny yellow bloom, speckled across, and in between corn and wheat crops over the abundance of great vast farmlands near and far from our home. 

It's just so lovely to drive by and witness those happy colored hues of yellow, so sunny and bright in coloring, that often cars are seen pulled over to the sides of the roadways, sometimes with driver standing outside of the vehicle with camera in hand, much like me this day.

**Bunnies have taken up residence in the forest on our property. They are the sweetest and yet strangest things!

If you look very carefully in the center of our fire pit, to the left of the burnt logs, you'll see a wee little brown bunny with his ears standing straight up sitting there. This one recently rolled about trying to lose his scent for survival instincts. Can you see him?

Yesterday, there were five, three with fluffy white cottontails, and two larger ones who were bold enough to come up to the house and discover my hostas. They love their leaves, and I'd honestly prefer they didn't.

** The conversation pit, well when heat and high humidity allows. The heat has become a huge factor for everyone in our part of the country, and since this photo was snapped, the tent (not seen in this photo) above has been removed from the deck and placed over top of our dog's outdoor pen for some shade protection when they require outdoor duties. They prefer resting on cool concrete and are fairly wilted much of the time these days.

** For my husband, and for anyone who wishes to brave the area's mosquito problem during shady moments, this is the scene welcoming and screaming invites for all "to come and rest their weary souls"...

We have longed for a hammock on this property, mostly as we have trees the perfect distance apart to allow for such a wondrous treat. When I stumbled upon one recently, it was just one of those "known" must-have purchases, and voila, here it is.

And because of one simple purchase of such a wish listed item, a true type of dreamy resting place, a sanctuary for stolen solitude and respite moments if you will, is now here for all to enjoy.

This gently swinging hammock beckons for moments like this, memories to capture of sisters bonding and chatting over horse shows and all things barn.


** Indeed all things barn is a heightened topic these days for our girls, thick in their summer horse show season excitement and daily chatting.

Our younger daughter had her first seasonal horse show and fared quite well, taking two first place ribbons after the first two divisions; Equitation on the flat, and Hunter Hack. I about allowed my jaw to drop to the desert hot ground at first, wondering if it was "my daughter's" name actually called on the loud speaker! And then she moved forward on her horse to collect her ribbons.... squealing proud mommy moments resulted! All day long!

Next she was awarded a fourth and fifth place ribbon for; Equitation over fences and Hunter over fences. Later when returning home again, we were informed our daughter had enough ribbon points to earn her the "championship ribbon" which will be awarded on the last show date in August. What a surprise!

The girls' coach was so excited for the five riding students during this show, especially after having a rough and rocky start to the day when someone forgot all the girths for the horses! The initial mood was somber, worry showing well on the girls' and parent's faces. How did this happen ... quickly became the question of the day.

Luckily one of the young gal's grandmother was traveling and planning to arrive later, offering to stop by the barn and bring them with her for the journey over an hour away, saving one of us the trek back to fetch them on time for the show start. Oh, and bless her heart! Often these shows include such an early 6:30am start to the day, by the time we travel to the location for the day's horse show, a coffee delivery like the one above has everyone doing the happy dance and hugging the lovely lady.

** Bike riding has taken on an all new form with us in our home. With the older ones working hard all summer long, we are able to put the seats down in the van and get all three bikes in it, transporting our bike riding into a whole new realm near the water's edge! 

I can hardly wait for more adventures with these two, mostly as we have now collaborated with many new ideas for further riding around our area. I'm going to begin browsing for one of those signs to hang up, not the one that says; "I'm in the garden", rather one that says; "I'm out making new summer memories with my kids!". :)

** Surprises blooming within landscape rock cracks, little sweetness blessings creeping into my day while out watering plants in the ridiculous heat and humidity offered this summer in the east.

** Even though I removed many plants and shrubs from the front garden beds on either side of our front doorway, no one this year can tell for the luscious blooms are completely filling in the temporary spaces made there before now.

Hues of purple and lovely lavender coloring fill my garden beds, and I'm really enjoying the change from red to purples this year immensely. They are so soft and unassuming in their appearance, yet hardy to the heat surrounding them as it also reflects off the stone exterior of our home.

Here's a little peak into our front garden blooms; 

I would also like to thank all those for taking a moment to email their sweet thoughts and prayer offerings when I divulged a difficult medical discovery last time. Finally after the results came in, I feel admittedly both relieved and yet saddened at the same time! 
  • No, the bacterium did not visually show up on the ct scan. 
  • Yes, it's still there! 
  • No, since it's obviously hiding in the lung wall scar tissue, it appears to be "dormant". 
  • No, there will be no immediate course of treatment. 
  • Yes, the treatment was divulged for standard TB and other family non-contagious forms of it, a detailed and discussed treatment in fact which would require usage of three strong drugs with course of treatment lasting NINE MONTHS! One of the drugs causes severe breathing difficulty, another liver failure. Mighty fine...
  • So, yes, if such a treatment is required, my husband was told he'd be flat on the couch for the entire duration. And yes, the treatment could very obviously prove fatal. 

Final thoughts and offerings; 
  • mixed emotion for no treatment possible to rid the body of the bacterium
  • thankful that the bacterium is dormant
  • like a human time bomb, if/when it raises its ugly head, it would be in the form of a vicious and fast acting pneumonia we are told. 
  • thankful for a good supply of drug prescription offerings for emergency self prescribed treatment at the first sign of sputum color change. 
  • Continued prayers so incredibly appreciated...
Thank you!

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

Sunday, July 10, 2011

27/52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures:
trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane --

whatever is unique to the week.

Join me if you like.

** Oh Canada! ... Our home and native land...

It was a scorching HOT day - just ask her! 

In fact we've had regular temperatures of 30C PLUS humidity for almost two weeks. A few thunder storms here and there, lightning blasting the skies, there are no more doubts summer has indeed arrived.

We were able to attend a wonderful Canada Day celebration not too far from our home, though not for long before the heat became all too much for everyone. A snack on the deck while observing plenty of entertainment and live music below; a face painting station, balloon man, swimming pool, and (new to us) multiple activities such as segway tours, and then, we were done.

Off for home, we attempted to return later in the evening when the day began to cool just a tad, the humidity leveled a wee bit, and a lovely dusk sunset began beckoning us to return again. And the return was worth every ounce of effort!

We all have nothing but total awe and sincere appreciation for the fabulous fireworks show we were spectators of, the evening's ending resulting in a rousing applause for the super colorful and all of the prolific dancing parade of celebratory lights offered in the sky above. 

Oh Canada!  

** Slurping up more blog posts with the assistance of free wifi as I'm apparently now unable to complete the downloads at home.

I've had a few visits to either coffee shops or libraries for the purpose of downloading each blog book so I can begin the editing process and personal photo placements. The goal is to have all blog posts published into books, tangible pages filled with memories and our family journals, those posts which have been chronicling our days while living life in the east. I'm finding this process good timing with the new email announcing a July special discount, so my fingers are tapping the keyboard when I'm able to these days.

I've decided to make one for each six months of a year, and change the color for the book covers per year also. So far I have two shades of blue, two shades of green, and a creamsicle orange for color choices. 

Oh the memories we have weaved are now becoming stored and treasured within the covers of these books! 

** It was a unanimous decision that our fire pit was far too small for our bonfire preferences. 

After purchasing more curved landscape bricks, these four took on the initiative to re-carve and widen out the perimeter, then placing the bricks in their circular motion. With marshmallows in hand, we were able to enjoy a real lovely bonfire shortly afterward. Yeah gang!


** This butterfly has been visiting daily outside of my window, very obviously attracted to my florals in the garden. I hadn't taken the time to gulp back its presence until this day, just a few moments to be thankful for the little bit of grace its presence brought to my day. 

"Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine."  
~Jeffrey Glassberg

Life truly is precious and most beautiful, and yet also fragile as all get out!  

Like the butterfly we are free to float, to select well and fly freely, fully able to discern and put into practice what is truly right and good in our personal world.

As every moment in our lives counts for something, so too do words that are able to have a drastic ripple effect. It is then and always when we believe life really is tenderly and seriously fragile when uttered words have the ability to shatter the upcoming seconds of life. Words, like those from almost six weeks ago - "you have a bacterium present in your lungs that is related to the tuberculosis family, though in your case likely not contagious".

With a well known pending mail strike here in Canada, even so, important medical records were sloppily dropped into the system, and then haphazardly forgotten as time has drifted forward. After being passed from Respiratory Doctor to the Infectious Diseases expert, as of this typing there are still no answers afforded upon this family for required treatment. If you could please offer a prayer....I sure do humbly thank you.
Like the butterfly in flickering motion, our thoughts drift toward the hope of answers, though nothing at all (!) seems to make sense some days. 

I'm very certain that although we don't have a clue why difficult situations present themselves in our lives the way they do, sometime down the road, may we become blessed to acquire that long sought after knowledge we yearn so desperately to know about more fully at present, and be able to comprehend and understand as to why they visited the way they once did.

I myself am completely praying and banking on that thought!

** Sunsets and outdoor horse lessons have crept in at later hours than past months, momentarily though before we switch to morning lesson times. While the girls have been in the barn tacking up and preparing their horses, I am greeted by a sudden sunset shimmering sparkle when the light catches on my crucifix hanging from my rear view mirror, those few glimmering and winking seconds where time stands still, just for a second, and I'm feeling led to nod and begin uttering much thanksgiving for anything and every thing in the presence of my day.

** There are strange footprints along the shore of our preferred beach location these days. Among many noted are raccoons, deer and beaver!

On our property, we've had new friends from the forest come to visit; two baby rabbits and mommy cottontail not far behind, pheasant, wild turkeys, turkey vultures, pleated woodpeckers have returned, baby birdies galore are tumbling and learning to fly from their nesting, and even the oddest sighting of a female peacock, perhaps an escapee from a local exotic zoo has appeared on our property.

The black bears have been hiding, along with the coyote packs though we have spotted two babies and not long ago, heard their awful wailing in the distance in the dead of night.

The chipmunks are pesky as all get out and a problem if the population increases. The weasels are now brown in color, and are often seen carrying a baby chippie for their evening meal. There has been a pesky one attempting to scratch his way into our home again, picking at the fireplace outtake steel covering  with us waking up to him in the week hours of the morning. Just what we need - another weasel indoors.

Squirrels have been limited this year, just a few black ones running about. The bats flying about our heads during our bonfires have been heartily welcomed, as I'm hoping they will continue to freely fly about and enjoy munching up our dreadful mosquito population by night.

** Summer is a time for appreciating the great abundance of fresh farmed and local food. I'm loving my summer salads, those complete with fresh in season berries, slivered almonds, and a light drizzle of poppyseed dressing. 

A great book on the side makes the perfect companion. This one is titled "Frugal Luxuries of the Seasons", the second I've enjoyed from author "Tracey McBride". Her books are seemingly rare and out of print these days, but lucky me, I found this one at a recent homeschooling used book sale. It's been lovely summer reading.


** I AM Canadian.... is the slogan of "Molson Canadian brewery", and I snapped this photo above on Canada Day when my husband ordered one in the heat of the day during our snack on the upper restaurant deck. It was one of those hot summer day, most ordinary moments, now frozen in time forever in a digital (Kodak) photo.


** Don't let this bubble bee in the photo above fool you, he is GINORMOUS! There have been many of these buzzing bees working hard pollinating in our garden these days, very beautiful actually when finding oneself suddenly up close and personal with them. And big!

It takes my breath away to notice them in my midst, actually that's because I'm holding my breath and hoping not to get stung by one of them!

My goodness, are they ever huge!

** Going through a stack of my children's artwork this week, I came upon this delightful and heart warming pencil sketched portrait of our family. 

It's during these sorts of unexpected visits to days gone by where I can once more visualize how a childlike mind views his own family during his youthful years. He includes each one, he depends on them, sees them all lined up in a row in his mind, something which provides the vision of strength in numbers for loving hearts, all united with the parents at the helm of the lineup.

These portraits fast become small and yet powerful reminders, and hold spontaneous blessings galore for this mommy's heart. 

If you don't have one of your family already, ask your child/children to draw a photo of your family members, and then observe just how it is presented back to you. We have many of these sweet little pieces of art in our home, some very intricately detailed with icons or symbols drawn on each person's frontage, so cute!

I'm going to find them all, going on a sketch-hunt this week, and then they will all be blown up and framed! There are blessings in these simple pleasures, and reminders of what is ultimately important in life - MY FAMILY!  

Here is a very famous quote (smiling) from another who felt the same as I ...

"The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other."
~ MARIO PUZO, The Family

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

Monday, July 04, 2011

26 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures:
trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane --

whatever is unique to the week.

Join me if you like.

 Graduation theme week...

I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, 
to the highest of your hopes, 
to the windows of your opportunities, 
and to the most special places your heart has ever known.  

~Author Unknown

At last, the night was here last week for graduation formalities. 

Be who you are and say what you feel, 
because those who mind don't matter 
and those who matter don't mind.  

~Dr. Seuss

During her schooling vocation as a student, she has now officially (with papers in hand) completed 11 years of homeschooling with mother as teacher, and 1 1/2 years re-taking a few courses (as was the case of her older brother after moving to the east), after they weren't going to be recognized in the (ie; educational institutional bureaucratic bull) inside the province of Ontario. 

It seems curricula varies across our country, all is fair in every province but this one! 

And that goes for "accredited studies" as well.

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap 
but by the seeds that you plant.  

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Proud parent moment arrived when we were pleasantly surprised at hearing her being recognized as an "Ontarion Scholar" for having held an 80% or higher average for her courses load. 

This is our gal who (just a few short years ago) never really fully acknowledged any personal merit for the importance of doing well in school for a time, and then blew us all away by suddenly knocking our socks off with her marks.

So proud of her!

Oh sure, she almost forgot this day entirely when a work shift was assigned. 

When she was supposed to work until 6pm., it was her "mother" that saved the day, broaching the topic quite quickly when announcing I wouldn't be available for pick up after her work because she was supposed to be at grad for 5pm, and I had already made my own commitment to be there!

(She had her shift changed that same day)

Always be a first-rate version of yourself,
instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  

~Judy Garland

Life is my college.  
 May I graduate well, and earn some honors!  

~Louisa May Alcott

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the