Thursday, April 29, 2010

Backyard Doings

One of my favorite flowers in the spring are lilacs. We have about 6 bushes that bloom each year. This year our white one didn't bloom at all, but the others did a great job! I love the dark purple the best. I cut enough tonight to make a bouquet for a friend and for inside the house. They smell so wonderful and soon they will be gone. So I'll just keep cutting as long as I can.
We have about 2 acres that surround our house. Then we have about 4 acres of woods that my granddaughter nicknamed "The Creepy Woods"...The other night as I was mowing I noticed some huge..and I really mean HUGE birds flying toward the Creepy Woods. I looked up and the tallest tree right near the beginning of the woods had about 8 big red necked buzzards just sitting there looking really weird..very they were waiting for something or someone to come by and they would swoop down and grab them! Tonight while I was out doing some yard work I noticed this ugly guy sitting all alone. Unfortunately my camera doesn't take close up shots too well. This may not look like much but that tree is really high up there and that bird is big, big, big...hmmm, makes me think twice about entering the Creepy Woods at twilight!
This pic was taken at the top of our backyard near the Creepy Woods...The pine trees have really grown in the last 9 years since we've lived here. You can see that they are like a fortress surrounding the property. They really block the wind and keep the howling sound down to a true whisper...the little break in the trees at the front of the property is the entrance to Whispering Pines...pretty soon we'll have to trim those back or no one will get in or out!
Jack and I stood at the end of the driveway and watched the sun set...what a lovely, soothing sight..goodnight!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Down in the Valley...the Valley so Green

Today is a nice rainy, cool day. Even tho it's Saturday and most people would like sun, we need the rain and we got a nice gentle soaker. After running some errands we headed over to Green Valley Growers to check out plants. I wanted some raspberry bushes and found a good variety to choose from. Jack was pleased to find some blueberry bushes too. Walking in the place is so amazing. It's loaded from top to bottom with all kinds of flowers and hanging baskets. It's a few weeks early for planting annuals, but I did pick up some pretty pansies. They don't mind the cool weather. Usually I plant most of my flowers by Mother's Day. I know the nice bushes and trees go early so I was really glad we went today. It's also nice that the rain can water the new stuff instead of me! When you enter the greenhouse you're hit by the smell of the flowers, dirt, rain...OH it's heavenly! I would take one of everything if I could, but even I can't find all the spots to plant that much...Jack is very thankful for that!
Jack is holding his excitement at bay..he knows this is only one of many trips to the greenhouse before summer. Thankfully it's a rainy and cool day. He hates to go in there when it's stifling hot!
On the side of the first greenhouse when you enter are many hosta and other perennials. Don't need any of those, the Pines has a ton of hostas and day lilies that are fun to split each year and move all over the property.
Then you go outside and see all this: rows upon rows of annuals, veggie plants, perennials, bushes, trees, and more and more brain was in plant overload! We ended up with 2 holly bushes to replace what Jack took out in front of the house.
Time to leave...cart is full of berry bushes! Yellow raspberry, purple raspberry (didn't even know there was such a berry!) and blueberry bushes...We have to plant the new red raspberry bushes that the Easter PawPaw bunny brought me! It will take a few years to get all these producing fruit, but it will be worth it. Come on by and pick some with me! I'm also thinking of all the lovely jam that can be made...Mmmmm

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just another manic Monday

Here it is...the wonder of waste management. The poo hole.
If you live in the country I bet you have one of these. We had one of these when I was kid growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. I loved it when the big truck would come and clean it out. Because today is Monday and I have no life, blogging about septic tank clean out seems appropriate. I missed the truck coming today because I was working...I missed the big hose, the excitement. I heard that one of the companies that does this sort of thing has a motto on it's truck that says: "We are number one at taking care of number two". I sure hope that was the truck that came here today!
I don't want to leave you with visions of dark, dank, stinky septic tank holes. Here's the crab apple tree in front of the house that always puts on a great show in the spring. I just wish blogger had scratch and sniff because this tree smells heavenly!
Not only is this a pic of my beautiful can also see where Jack ripped out the big square bushes in front of the dining room windows. Now I just have to think of something to replace them. Maybe holly bushes?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Shack

Have you read it? I did about a year ago and thought it was pretty interesting as well as a good story. It makes you think. Some people find fault in the way God is portrayed in the beginning, but if you stick with it and finish the book it's all good. Tonight I went to a lecture by the author, Paul Young.(William P. Young) and it was very enjoyable. He explained how, and why he wrote the book and told about his own amazing life journey. So read it and form your own opinion. Hope I'm not steering you wrong!

Every time I see a pic of me I I have a big head. I mean, Mr. Young is a small person, but hey, I look like amazon lady!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

Amy and Craig celebrated their 10yr. anniversary this past weekend. Since they now live only 3hrs. from Chicago and my Mom lives in Chicago we decided that I would come and take care of the grandkidlets at Mom's while they have a nice time away in the Windy City. I know, I know..I live 6hrs away from there, but hey, I get to visit my Mom, Sister and other family while also seeing my grandkids. Sounded like a good idea at the time.It started out really good. Craig and Ames left and we went to the park and then home to an easy dinner and then we played outside some more, took baths and got ready for bed. Sophie was a bit hesitant to sleep without me holding her. I'm way too big to fit in the pack and play! But after sheer exhaustion she did sleep great all night. Katie and Taylor are the best kids. No fussing, whining or the usual 20 glasses of water please requests.They drifted off and Midge and I settled down to watch "The Blind Side". Then I heard the pitter, patter of feet heading to the bathroom and the distinct sound of, as Katie calls it, the "erps". Last weekend they were at my house and Taylor had the "erps". Now it was Katie's turn. We bonded all night! Every half hour right on the dot she puked. Poor thing! She was so brave and good about the whole thing. I now realized the blessing of being on surgical call. I could stay up all night and still function fairly normal the next day! Saturday she stayed on Great Grandma's sleeper couch watching cartoons and being amazed that a couch could have a bed in it! I'm sure she's back to normal by now and I'm fine too. I'm also glad that Craig and Amy had fun downtown because celebrating the wonderful relationship that they have is worth all the "erps" in the world! Happy 10th anniversary! (on April 29th)

The two Sophies.My sister's dog's name in Sophie and my Granddaughter's name is Sophie. That made things a little more interesting when calling for either of them!
Taylor and Sophie have a sibling sharing moment with a purple popsickle. Try saying that 10 times fast!
My Mom had to have some trees taken out. My Dad planted those trees when they bought their property and it was bittersweet to say goodbye. But at 60yrs. old they were dropping huge limbs that could squash a tiny's an example of a tiny tyke!Sophie liked playing around these chunks. No need to count the rings!
Here it is folks...kid we really know what's in those little nuggets? Do we? For some reason kiddos just love that stuff. And being the wonderful YaYa that I am, I caved and hopefully didn't poison any one!I did get a kick out of the stupid toy with the glowing tongue. You'll just have to buy your own meal to find out what I'm talking about!
Now this is grub worth chowing on! That Greek salad was to die for and all the other food was awesome. Thanks Mom!
Well, time to head out of Dodge! One last pic before hopping in the car and flying back to the Pines, Jack, Ed and hopefully no puke buckets!
Here's our little Miss Kate looking like she's on the mend. You're a real trouper Katie!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Organ Donation

Choosing to be an organ donor is a very personal decision. My occupation has given me the honor of helping with organ harvest. We don't do the transplants at our small hospital.I'm not sure if I can explain the feeling in the operating room when a family makes the decision to have a loved one's organ's donated. We are used to helping patients with an operation that will save lives and improve life style. While we never see the people that will receive the gift of donation, we experience the reverence and gratefulness of the team that does the harvesting. There is a special spirit in the OR that is felt by everyone there. I know what donation has meant to my family. My brother has been a recipient of a kidney, lovingly donated by his daughter. My nephew was killed in a car accident in 2004 and his eyes, tissue and bone were lovingly donated by my Sister because he made a statement saying that he would like to be a donor if anything would ever happen to him.My Sister-in-law will receive a stem cell transplant next week to hopefully put her leukemia in remission.This video by Paul Cardall is really beautiful and it certainly speaks for itself.Whether or not you would choose to be a donor, you certainly can't deny the value of the lives it changes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time to Mow Baby!

Ahhhhhh, the first cut of the season. It's always fun to cut the grass for the first time in the spring. It's also always fun to cut it for the last time in the fall! I don't think anything smells as good as fresh cut grass. Except my neighbors dinner that was cooking outside on the grill..showoffs! It was the perfect night to mow. The temps have been so mild this week and the sun feels great. The greenhouses are opening and the Easter bunny brought me two new red raspberry bushes that need planting. I have all kinds of ideas for the Pines landscape. Now I just need to get it in gear and get going on them!

The grass is all cut. Eddy toys are still sprinkled around the lawn. Sort of like a little child who leaves their toys all over the floor!
The magnolia tree is bursting with big pink blooms!
When this area is all out in bloom it's really a sweet sight to behold. Slow but sure it's getting there.
The chairs are out and ready for you to park your bum and enjoy a sunset.Oh, and bring a friend!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bear with me please

Knowing how I blog, I bet you thought I would have a story about bears! No, I just have a few more pics I couldn't resist posting.This is actually out of order because these were from Friday. The kids arrived on Thursday night. Friday morning this little pumpkin was looking so sweet and cute just waiting for YaYa to take a pic. I swear she has the bluest eyes ever!
Our first stop on our fun weekend was to the Lodi outlet mall. Craig and Amy scored some really good buys for everyone and Craig picked up these cool shades. They would look cooler if his tongue wasn't hanging out! He'll probably kill me for printing this pic.
We had our first fire of the year. The kiddos really look forward to roasting hot dogs and making s'mores. Craig is a gourmet hotdog cook. He learned from the best. His Dad. All the years of Scouts paid off!
Besides hotdogs that the kiddos wanted, Amy and I thought foil dinners would be fun to do. So we gathered the makings and wrapped them in the foil and put them on the hot coals to cook to perfection...NOT!! We made the burgers and cooked them on the stove, added the veggies and potatos and threw the foil packs on the grill. Done in no time at all! Hey, we're not Grizzly Adams in the wild. They were yummy by the way.
Taylor enjoyed his s'mores by the fire. They made it all over his face. Unfortunately they made it back again to his face around 10pm when he up chucked every item he consumed that day. Poor little guy, he was really sick for over 24hrs. Glad you're all better now Taylor!
Amy and I did our fair share of running around to gather all the Easter doodas...and even with a list managed to forget about 5 essential items. But we did not forget the way to the Parsley Pot,a place that's full of (as Jack's Dad used to say)"cute things that smell good". Since it's just down our country road we walked and enjoyed the day. We actually found things that we just couldn't live without and no list was involved!
Last but not least, the weekend would not be complete without an Eddy moment. He loves all the kiddos, and yes he can be annoying because he just wants to be with all the humans. But he's so gentle when he's with the little ones. He can't help it that his head is big and just at their eye level. We will give him points for trying to be good. Here's an example: Sophie with her foot in his mouth and his paw on her leg because he just loves her! Good boy Ed!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What did you "find" this Easter?

Sometimes my blog has these little themes that just jump out at me. Today on this beautiful Easter day, the word "find" and "found" seem to fit the pictures and the feelings I have for this holiday. Everyone knows I love Halloween and Christmas, but I find that I enjoy Easter the most. Growing up it was a big deal in our home. Mom made special Greek foods and usually we celebrated with our Greek relatives so we had 2 Easters every year. We got new clothes to wear on Easter Sunday and growing up Catholic involved many Church traditions. I love the theme of renewal, hope and new life. When family and friends have passed, the knowledge that we will see them again because of what our Savior Jesus Christ has done for us has deeper meaning. I find it hard to believe my kids are all grown up and their children are also getting older. I'm glad they still enjoy getting together and sharing good food, good fun and good traditions that we have passed along. I find it harder to coordinate all the schedules at times, but appreciate the efforts of the kids. They have in-laws and their own homes to do the traditional things too. Thanks for making this day special for Jack and I. Yes, it's a lot of work, but much fun too. This is a long post and I apologize for all the pics and words. I hope you had a great day and I hope you "find" this holiday to be a favorite of yours too.

I think Amy has found having her cousins living out East is like having a mini reunion! I enjoy her family so much. They are really good kids and I'm glad they have let us host them from time to time. Laney and Taylor, we wish you could have come too. Maybe next year?
Katie found a minute to stop and give me a smile before continuing on the hunt for the super egg!
Sophie and her cousin Ike didn't care what was in the eggs, they just enjoyed finding them and opening them up...well, Sophie did enjoy the chocolate that was inside the little kiddo eggs!
We enjoyed having Zeb and his family come down for the Easter festivities. He seemed to find the day to be "egg"stra special.
This year Driana decided she was too old to hunt for eggs, but she got to hide them with the grown up folk. That made her happy, but me sad. I can't believe she's 14. She's a good big Sis to Cameron.
Summer was happy to find that she's still young enough to be included in the egg hunt. She made up the rule that once you're in high school you're done with the hunt part of Easter at YaYa and PawPaw's. Two more years for you Summer!
Are you finding room in your basket for all the eggs Alexis?
Katie was a big help to Alexis when she needed a boost up to find some tricky hidden eggs. You're a good cousin Katie!
Anthony really seemed to enjoy the egg hunt this year. He's getting so old now (8) but he still found it a challenge!
Finding eggs is easier for the youngest group. We put them in a separate spot in the yard from where the older kiddos hunt. Addy has a matching dress (in a different color) with her Sister and she looked the very image of Easter dress up.
Alexis looked so cute in her Easter dress and she always has a camera ready smile for me. She found the egg hunt tiring when she kept looking for the last of her eggs...we found out that we had forgotten 12 eggs that were suppose to be hidden! So after an exhausting search we discovered the mistake and made amends to all.
Cameron seems happy with his Easter egg finds!
Here's Phil wondering what is left from dinner that he can enjoy. I don't think he had any trouble finding plenty of Easter goodies!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Happy Birthday Jordan!

I'm try to figure this one out. Jordan in 26 today. Wow! He's the youngest of the 4 dudes of my loins. I'd love to say that today is a day just like the day you were born Jord, but I don't really remember the weather. I was just happy to get you out of there! You were almost born on April fool's day, but Dad wasn't going to let that happen and so I waited until the next day and voila! You entered this world at 12:15pm weighing in at 10lbs 8oz! Guess you had the last laugh after all. When the first babe weighs in at 2lbs., you don't expect the last one to weigh in at 10lbs. But that's not the puzzle can my youngest be 26 when I'm only 29??? While I go and sit and ponder that equation, you go and have a great day. See ya at the fire pit tonight for something yummy and maybe even a cake! Happy Birthday! We love you! Mommo and Dad (aka yaya/pawpaw)