Friday, June 29, 2012

Of baby gift blessings, and a lovely rag quilt.

The colorful box arrived in the mail, a special gift from a dear friend. 

The gift wasn't for me though, it was addressed to our daughter, a recent new first-time mommy of a special little baby girl, our tenth grandbaby. 

As you can see from the photo above, our daughter was super thankful to Barbara for her thoughtfulness. She's been utterly grateful, and very often she graciously comments on how she just can't  get over how many people have gone out of their way to bless her in this way. Writing thank you notes has become a general habitual routine since her baby was born. So much love has been offered from near and far.

Thank you to everyone who has so blessed and warmed her new mommy's heart with your beautiful prayers, cards and gifts. She's such a good mommy, so patient and wonderful with her little gal.

Enjoy these photos Barbara, for they are for you my friend...

Our little grandbaby posed well, such an itty bitty photography subject, that is, all except for how curious she is over having a camera pointed near to her. She just wasn't sure about it. At all. She gives that "who me" face every time the camera points near.

Often known as bug eyes, she definitely doesn't think her Nana's camera flash is a friend, rather a foe for the brightness I dare to inflict upon her bulging (camera flash) scary eyes. 

After posing for a time, I think we exhausted this poor little gal. Eventually, her mommy scooped her up into her arms, sat down nearby, and began to read her current book in progress. 

Not long later, someone was happily somewhere off in dreamland, such a sweet and precious sight to me sitting close and noticing her current state of loveliness. 

I just had to snap these two photos of her obviously, happily passed out.

Fast forward about 1.5 months since the photos above were snapped, this wee one has recently graduated from her newborn bed to a much larger crib. She loves to spend a little time kicking about each day, fully absorbed in her colorful animal mobile overhead, with Mozart music playing to her content. 

Her rag quilt is there, usually pulled up toward her face, comfy and so very cozy for her to grab and nuzzle close to her cheeks. 

When she sleeps, she likes to have her quilt right up around her face. She's going to be a girly-girl. We can all just tell when observing the dainty movements of her hands, and the coy looking smiles she offers everyone around her. A happy hearted little gal, this quilt has perfect vibrant and happy colors, a perfect match which suits her little personality very well. 

Thanks again to everyone, and to Barbara for this beautiful rag quilt...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When a salamader came to call

Just when things seem to appear to be much calmer, and school is slowly inching towards a summertime break, all becomes incredibly distracted this day, by our son's discovery of a wee salamander slithering about on our property.

And he's pretty cute too!

Why have we never seen these before? Who knows? 

Schooling on the back deck has been wonderful in the early morning hours, the added wee breeze keeps everyone cool before the intense beginning of the heat for the day. 

And then, everything of course - is interrupted. 

All in a good way of course...

Nature identification, and nature books in general slowly begin to sprawl out on the table. 

Children study, detect possible feeds and drink for a timely nature study. All gets rolling along proving to become a morning of serious educational rabbit trail discovery, deeply delving into the book/internet resources and solving curiosities.

The morning hours fly by with the friendly salamander watch/play timing right there on the back deck table, and then, the inevitable happens when mother says; 

"Okay, time to let him out so he can get back to his own familiar surroundings."

And, just in time for summoning them for a lunch break.

A morning of sweet salamander surprises did indeed fill their hours with an extra nature study, completely and utterly filled with enthusiasm and intrigue. And, a schooling schedule remained incomplete, when they were summoned for a refreshing drink and midday meal when the fishy crackers just weren't enough anymore. :)

Psst. I think they learned much, even with the thought of this welcomed bit of distraction.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ten Things I'm Thankful For ~ Summer begins!


It's summer time folks!

Yes indeed ~ it's time again for another of my "Ten things I'm thankful for", installments, just a friendly culmination of assorted items off the top of my head that warrant a placement in this post here today. 

~ Thanks for stopping by.

1 - I'm thankful for little reminders to slow down the pace of life, when it seems to whir round and round at great speeds, often leaving me, and those around me, feeling a bit overwhelmed. 

The building in the background is my inlaws place, where my hubby and I stayed in the guest room downstairs when recently there for my mother in law's funeral. Just like a hotel room, when able (those seldom present moments that is), there were a few times we were able to just relax in the common areas, observing the residents around us in their every day activities. Call it people watching if you will, we noticed how the folks here came together and have become their own little community.

This could be us someday, opting and living in this type of environment, so it was definitely interesting to have a front row seat to witness life in action, in this particular setting.

Yes, S-L-O-W down, life is not a rabbit race!

- 2 - I'm thankful for the incredible heat waves we've been experiencing the past few weeks, for I dare not grumble, or we may get similar weather to the westcoast's rainy bout.
It's been incredibly HOT, which is lovely and all tropical-wonderful for me, however I will never, ever get used to the steamy hot humidity, when even my chest feels the thick and heavy air suffocating my ability to breathe, and life for our animals and my husband rises to danger levels. 

Yesterday we hit an all time temperature record, just shy of 45C (120 F) with the humidex factored in to the day's weather equation, such a hard day for everyone - everywhere, especially those who have had to work outdoors, like our son. He sure appreciates the forced hydrating sessions, and cooling centers made mandatory during his daytime shifts. And I sure appreciate when he arrives home again, sans heat stroke symptoms. 

...Air conditioning never felt so good!

- 3 - I'm thankful for new deck chairs! Woohoo! 

I've had a goal to replace our former chairs, a few each year, and this year we were able to add four more of them to our small budding outdoor chair collection.

There are only two downsides to purchasing chairs this way. One is making the purchase of unassembled units which have to have two men to put them together. And the second is, they require painting.

Raw wood = lots of painting! 

Best deal ever was coming across a skid of paint at our local Home Depot store. All of the Martha Stewart outdoor paint, (apparently a slow moving product), was on sale for only 10.00 per gallon! Way at the back of the second skid nearby, we found two gallons of white paint, so naturally I gravitated towards them, grabbed one in each hand and scooted off to the nearest cashier. 


Here's where I admit to my son -  you were right! This brand of paint truly doesn't offer the coverage I thought it would. Two to three coats of paint at least, are required. 

Two chairs are now completely white washed, and gracing our deck already, however due to heat issues, it's been pokey slow trying to complete the last two. With this week's heat wave upon us, even with one painting session beginning at 6:30am. for approximately a two hour stretch, the final two chairs still remain incomplete with only the centers to paint.

Even with this early morning paint session, it's just been way too humid to work outdoors, even at that time of day, sweat pouring onto my freshly painted chairs every few minutes. Ewwwww.....  I'll let you know when we're done, and upload a photo of all on our back deck. 

Next year, I'd love to place a few more near the firepit, as we're down from three, to only two there now, one more biting the dust this again year. They are only 28 years old, so they owe us nothing at all.

- 4 - I'm thankful for daily sightings of forest bunnies, visiting us several times over the course of our days.

I knew it would be a good thing to disregard the sight of those clover patches gracing our lawn, as it's so much better to enjoy the bouncing bunnies out there instead. We have jack rabbits and cottontails, so sweet to have them around, and so much better than other unmentionables of recent days. 

Like the ant and earwig infestations. 

- 5 - I'm thankful for this one day, this one and only day above, when first arriving on the westcoast for my mother in law's funeral. I'm thankful for the early morning coffee visit, and our lunch together in the dining room, all with my father in law, before a call to 911 had to be made, an ambulance arriving shortly afterward, to transport him to hospital.

Almost six weeks later, he still remains there, hoping to rid his body of the second unexpected arrival of that awful hospital cdifficile virus, the same one that brought my mother in law down just when everything was looking so good for her to return home again. 

I'm thankful and so proud of my husband for honoring his parents in their difficult times, both now and in the past, when he's stepped up to the plate as the eldest in the family, feeling led to perform whatever he was able, either before our move east, or from a distance since then, and also while we were there recently, him twice. Luckily, no issues have risen from having to fly with regards to barometric pressure, or hypoxia issues, so thankful for that and so greatly relieved! 

Slowly, my father in law is gaining strength, though admittedly frustrations have run high at times. The family all can only hope and pray he can return to his home before too long, as the day before we left town, he requested his belongings moved from a 2 bedroom suite, sizing down to a one bedroom nearer to the elevator. I'm pleased we were able to offer some assistance on this, pleased too we were able to be part of him showing the suite to us beforehand during our one day together before the hospital stay, and I'm really praying he gets to even see his new place in the near future.


 - 6 - I'm  thankful for connecting at last with this grandbaby, one who was so unsure of me that she never wanted to come near the past two visits, but this time, oh yes, this time, she warmed up very well to the idea that I was quite okay.

In fact, she even shared her love of reading with me, and I found it very sweet to find her, upon occasion, preferring to look through a book, rather than run off to play with the big kids. Oh my, it was very touching and so heartwarming to catch glimpses of her just enjoying a moment with a good read. 

Oh, and by the way, I was giddy gobsmacked, though fearful of spooking her by a sudden movement in any way when leaving, because I was the lucky recipient of not only one, but two goodbye hugs. I can only hope she'll remember me enough next time to acquire a hug again in the future.

Loving this.

- 7 - I'm thankful for the beach scene above, almost tropical to the eye. It's a place I visit often, yearn for often, feel completely tranquil there, and decompress almost instantly once there.

It's a place where twice now, I've come to with my lady friends for a full morning's fast-paced power walk in the sand. Ever done that? It sounds so easy, but sinking and pushing forward is not at all a minor workout. Believe me. 

While sitting back on a picnic table enjoying a brown sack lunch during our last visit, all of us remarked on the serenity of the location, how much we loved it there, and deep sighs of contented ladies filled the breezy air. 

- 8 - I'm thankful for capturing this photo with some of my favorite men in the whole wide world. It was just a chance moment, when I noticed my father, two of our sons, and our youngest grandson, four generations standing outside of the church together, enjoying a momentary visit, shortly before my mother in law's funeral began. 

I am so very proud of our two boys, who gave great honor this day to their grandmother, along with four other grandsons who acted as pallbearers. And, I'm so pleased too, that my parents were able to travel to the funeral, to offer their support to my husband's family, whom they've known for what seems like forever now. (more photos to come...)

Love all the men in my life! Love the above photo!

- 9 - I'm thankful for lazy Sunday afternoons when the sun has not yet completely come around to the back deck, when the brunch dishes had been recently taken inside after a great meal, and an impulsive moment gives way to great fun for all present. 

I'm talking about playing cards together here, an old stand by game we've played before with other children, called twenty-one. 


Since the trick is to attempt to gain cards equaling as close to, or exactly up to the value of 21, it's not as easy at times, as it might appear to be successful with the strategy of this game.

With a bag of M & M peanuts at hand, our son decided rather than using a few pennies, (or dried beans as another son used to fetch from the pantry for this game) we would use our peanuts instead. Not only did the game include logic and strategy, it also included incredible temptations for sneaking and eating our game booty collections nearby. 

Yes, some of the candy went missing, in action of course, but never stolen from another. As the bits slowly dwindled, what's fair is fair, all were collected and divided evenly.


Oh, shhhhh.... please don't tell anyone what I have in my own hand, guessing that I was only a few times lucky this day, huh?

- 10 - I'm thankful for the love of nature, for our ever-changing, and so beautiful a property at the edge of North America's Boreal Forest, and for the ability to keep my chin up for being able to walk through our new trails - even when thick and renewed growth seem to often appear in no time at all.

This minor bit of fact could easily see us having a tendency to throw in the towel and give up, mostly because of how fast it grew while we were away, so much work beforehand, and so much more work now that we've returned home again.

It's that sun.

And, it's those accompanying summertime thunderstorms offering moisture to the new growth. As always though, lots and lots of loving remains for the wonderful reality, that these are ~ all ours. 


I know there's always going to be more work necessary as each season arrives, an assortment of forest details to tend to for keeping these beautiful trails intact.Believe me, it's worth it. So, I'll be heading out there just as soon as the weather cools up a bit, rake in hand, and kids in tow.

Who wouldn't like a very early morning walk through these trails, while reciting a morning offering, thankful for a new day, the joy of all around us, and the love of family. Oh yes, so much to be thankful for all.of.the.time ~ !

There you have, once again, another installment of the "Ten Things I'm Thankful For", which are a dime a dozen really in the grand scheme of things, because there are dozens to pick from, all favorite things, all special. When sharing, there's no order, though I may have to up the amount to my "25 things..." very soon. 

Are you taking stock, writing down and hoping for much joy from small things in your life? Me too. Do enjoy those moments that still take your breath away. I do. 

~ Renee

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where in the world is....

...the bedroom window curtain? 

It's horse riding season, prime time for riding outdoors, and for preparing for more upcoming horse shows. There is one this Saturday for our younger daughter, and it's been very grueling to get out and ride this week, specially as temperatures and humidity has soared, and environment Canada warnings are rippling through the media airwaves to remain indoors. 

Luckily, last night when the thermometer had been hovering around 100 degrees in the afternoon, plus the addition of humidex values, a thunder and lightning storm rolled in, just in time to lower temperatures for a time, and riding outside became more tolerable.

 (An early midweek morning ride alongside their riding coach)

 There's one thing for sure, just shortly before a riding show, a gal needs to be up on her horse and working in unison with it, attempting to perform as a team. 

Two sisters have been riding and enjoying their sessions together. When weather permits, little missy has been tagging along with her Nana entertaining her.

Summer reading? Oh, no problem around here.

Guess what the theme topic will mostly be about?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It was a "Happy Father's Day!" over here...

It was time. 

A few weeks ago now, I contacted a scrap metal dealer, who in turn answered my call and showed up to remove a load of metal items I wanted gone from our home. One of those items was my hubby's beloved barbeque, which in all senses of the word, was ready to go. It was riddled with signs of rust, and the grill wasn't worth cooking on during this summer's outdoor cookout season. At all. 

My poor husband. During his week off work two weeks ago now, I knew he was longing to get outdoors and cook us up a big feast every evening, and he all but sighed a few times, knowing his piece of rusty metal (grin) was long gone. Instead, with higher temperatures wreaking havoc on his lungs outdoors, he opted to cook indoors, planned a full week of meals, and we were able to enjoy feasting inside the whole week long, thankful to my hubby loving to cook at all. 

When the great big box was set inside our garage, I tried to camouflage it by throwing a big blanket over the top. I know he would suspect, and want to know what was under there, but he wouldn't suspect long even if he had peaked, because our two boys sprung into action the very next day to assemble the new barbeque everyone knew would be a perfect gift for dad. 

What the boys never knew was how many million pieces there would be, or the complex instructions that came along with such an assembly project. 

Three hours later, it was together, upright and ready to surprise my hubby once he arrived home. 

 All that was required was the hookup duty to the gas outlet, a job for dad. 

My hubby also had no idea that he was cooking dinner that night, a midweek dinner at that (surprise!), and his steaks he has so craved had been marinating all afternoon in the fridge, along with his wrapped spuds and veggies. 

 I plopped a glass of red wine in his hands, toasted to him, and then sat and kept him company while he cooked up his dinner feast. 

What a ham he was as you can see from the photos below, quite a happy man to have this surprise before him.

Happy Father's Day!