Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dinner with Grandma

I like the beach.  The beach is fine.  In fact, the beach on a nice day is very beautiful, even awe-inspiring.  There are times when I would even say that I LOVE the beach.

BUT A RAINY EVENING IS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES.  Honestly, I'm starting to think that my family is a little obsessed with this ocean thing.

So... rather than walk on a wet, deserted beach in the dark, during a drizzle that could at any moment turn into a downpour, as it has on and off all day, I asked to be dropped off at the Wendy's with the free wifi.

So, having checked my email, noted in my planner the day that school starts (not that I'm thinking about that AT ALL), I'm actually doing a little blogging while drinking a cup of hot tea.

I'm hoping they don't come back too soon and feeling a little guilty about the hope.  On the other hand, THEY'RE CRAZY!!!!  I can't help that.  And I am starving for some blogging.

I have been taking a lot of pictures which my 12 and 14 year old are not too happy about.  If the picture is not absolutely perfect they're both moaning, "Delete it.  Delete it," to which my oldest (24 yo son), chuckling,  says, "What's the big deal.  It's not like it's going to end up on the Internet or anything."  He (who reads my blog) is quietly laughing as they insist, "It probably WILL end up on the Internet."  I therefore promised, as I have before, that if they ever don't like a picture I've posted I will delete it.  So, the following pictures may only be up for a day or so (teehee).

Tonight Grandma took us to a little Italian restaurant not far from her home.  It was fun!

Most of the time, these girls have been getting along famously.

But there are occasional moments like the one above.  (I handed the camera to Jim and said under my breath, "If you see something good...."

But then someone discovered there are very annoying and hilarious things to be done with straws.  (And you with young kids thought this would maybe pass by age 4 or 5?)

This is my hubby Mike with his mother.  It's good for us to be here.

Tomorrow we head for St. Augustine, FL, a place I wanted to visit.  Hope to have some good pictures.

God bless!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Free wifi-- Love it!!

I'm sitting in the car in the rain somewhere in the vicinity of a Holiday Inn with free wifi.  Two kids in the back seat, the rest walking on the beach in the rain.  

Below are the sandwich kids (oldest and youngest) having fun making bread in Grandma's kitchen.  (Mike was teaching Liz-- turned out pretty good!)

Had dinner last night at a restaurant overlooking the beach with more relatives!

We had a delightful waiter who was so accommodating and offered to take this picture.

And on the way home-- a full bow rainbow.  We each took turns trying to get it on film from the car.

Hope all of you are well.  
Happy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Enjoying the Florida Sun......

We've spent a lot of time on this gorgeous beach. (Enough to have some sunburn here and there, in spite of our best efforts with sunscreen.)

This is my view from lying on my towel and not moving at all (teehee).

Just after sunset, there is nothing like a walk on the beach.

And nothing like seeing young teenage sisters enjoying each other's company... giggling...

Mike and I right after being surprised by an unexpectedly large wave....

Yesterday we spent the day at Sea World..
The penguin display was NICE and COOL.  Did I mention the weather was really hot!!!!

Manatees....you gotta love 'em...

The dolphin show.

Being "cool" in Florida.

And daredevils on every ride.  Note the two in the second to last row... They loved it.

These are my youngest three today joined by my oldest.  Fun times.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On the Road!

We set off on Sunday morning for the major road trip-- one side of the country to the other--- Michigan to Florida.....

Had a great time stopping in Tennessee to see relatives we don't get to see very often.

Had a fabulous dinner together.

Late last night we arrived at Grandma's house in Florida.  So today it was off to everyone's favorite place in Florida...

The beach, of course!!

Air temperature in the nineties and water temperature of 83 degrees!!!!!  The water was delightful.  No shocking coldness.  It was a little cooler than lukewarm bath water.  Even I went in.  Loved it.

No terribly large waves either.  They make me nervous.  It was just peaceful all around.

I really enjoy how different the vegetation is here from what we're used to.  Had to take a few shots .

And even with clouds like these approaching we managed to get to the car before the downpour.

(So now it's getting late and I'm sitting in the local Wendy's with free wifi!!!)  I'll have to catch up on my reading later.  I can only bribe the kids with french fries for so long.  teehee)

The whole family was not able to come but a few more will join us as the week goes on.

Hope all is well with all of you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vacation coming!

Yikes!  In a little more than 24 hours some of my family is leaving on vacation.  I have been here, there, and everywhere trying to get ready-- laundry, sorting, packing, (swim and dive meet in the middle of it all), finding things, getting books on tape and dvd's from the library, making reservations, making phone calls, etc.  I've hardly been able to THINK about blogging.

Hope to be able to catch up a little on vacation.  Hope you are all well and enjoying the loveliness of summer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who could resist this face?

It's not Lucky's fault.  I know that.

She ran to the back door, jumped all over it like she was desperate to get out.  I let her out.  She immediately turned around and jumped on the door to get back in.  

Several minutes later we went through the same routine.

Since I was talking on the phone as this went on I have to confess I wasn't really getting it.

I think we did it again.  I looked at her after letting her in and she looked at me.  I'm SURE this was what she was thinking.

"I can't believe how stupid you are.  Three times I have gone out just to turn around and come back in and you STILL think I'm saying I want to go out in the backyard??  No.  I do not want to just go out in the back yard.  I want to go out the door WITH YOU AND WITH MY LEASH ATTACHED TO ME!!  For heaven's sakes, I haven't had a walk in three days!!  I'm a dog!  Why don't you get it??!!"
Lucky, I get it.  Let's go.  I'll get the leash.
(P.S.  I took her for a 45 minute walk.  She's happy.  It's summertime, for heaven's sakes.  There's no excuse.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summertime Busyness!

I always expect summer to be a time of great relaxation and great productiveness (as in getting things done that have been put off.)

But the summertime hours, while indeed relaxing just seem to fill right up like the rest of the year.  

Why haven't I posted in several days??

I've been scheduling stuff like ortho appointments, dental appointments, wisdom teeth removal for two teens, signing kids up for swim team, volunteering for swim team stuff, assigning chores, planning a vacation, filling out camp forms, getting to Mass occasionally, going to Weight Watchers!, recording points, making meals, doing laundry, gardening, buying team suits, getting those bagels, shopping for summer clothes for girls who are growing like weeds,  juggling cars, doing laundry, getting to a LITTLE BIT of those organizing jobs that never get done in the school year, talking to kids, talking to hubby, PRAYING, picking up and picking up, keeping track of graduation parties, loving my family......    You know.   The stuff of life.

Gotta love it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

May Wonders Never Cease!

Yesterday I assigned chores for the day for my children.

Two of them had the job to empty two of their drawers and clean them.  (Take out what you've outgrown, don't want, etc.  Fold neatly and put back in what was left.)

My seventeen-year-old told me, "All my drawers are clean."

Me:   "All your drawers are clean."  I smile.  "Huh.  And if I look in them I will think they're clean?"

Jim:  "Yup.  When I got Grandpa's bedroom set I cleaned all the drawers."

I went into his room and looked through them.  May wonders never cease!!!  They were all neat, clean, and organized!!!

He rolls his t-shirts, a technique he learned from his brother when he was at a service academy.

This is one of his drawers......

You go, Jim!!!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Remember, Man, That You Are Dust

Some of you may remember the emptying of my parents' house.  We sold it maybe a year ago now.  

It's gone.  I mean it's really gone now.  Nothing left but a hole in the ground where the new owner is apparently digging a foundation for the new mansion which will take its place.

I do understand the economics of the situation.  The land was FAR more valuable than the house.  Actually, I guess the house had a negative value-- less than worthless, since it had to be torn down for the new owner to build what they wanted

It was a nice house.  (Pictured above).   I don't have a picture of the hole in the ground.  I haven't actually seen it yet.  I've just been told about it.  This is probably good.  Now I can get used to the idea (sort of) before experiencing the shock of actually seeing it.

This is the back yard and the back of the house.  It was my family home for 40 years.   Now it's gone.

But I am so happy that on the day we left my good friend Ann K.  helped me (encouraged me!) to dig up some of the perennials in the garden.  We dug them out and threw them in boxes to take back here to Ann Arbor.  I planted the limp things with not a lot of hope of their survival. But they're coming up!!!!  These lily of the valley bloomed a few weeks ago.

The above fern was one of many all over the back gardens.  And the black eyed susans are coming along nicely.  But pictured below is my favorite.

Four peony plants are coming up!!!  This one bloomed just a few days after I got the news that the house was really gone.  I did not remember that it was white.

This lovely bloom was such a comfort to me.  White-- the color of the Resurrection!!!!  Life continues.  Of course we know that life is eternal.  But it is indeed a blessing to me to have some of my mother's flowers-- flowers she herself planted.  I wonder if she had anything to do with the timing of this blossom

God is good!!!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

There is Always,Always, Always Something To Be Thankful For

I saw this plaque in the Dixboro General Store and I loved it.  It's such a good reminder.  I thought it would be good for all of us to remember this an an antidote to self-pity, something we are all prone to and myself very much included.

After putting it up in my living room  I did think it a little overpowering in the room.  Still, maybe it's OK to have one's attention firmly drawn to a positive message.  And the message is Scriptural, really.  "Render constant thanks."  Amen.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fun family weekend....

My oldest son Mike lives in South Bend, Indiana.  (graduated from Notre Dame and found a job there).  He's doing great.  We couldn't be prouder of him.

He has come home (3 hr. drive) for many of his siblings' events. (Confirmation, graduation, plays, etc.)  He has complained that he comes to see us, but we rarely come to see him.  I told him we need to be invited.  So he invited us!!

We drove down Friday and came back Saturday.

Dinner was waiting for us when we arrived.  Mike and his roommate had set it all up outside so we could enjoy the nice weather.  Spaghetti with delicious sauce.  Fried sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus and a fabulous spinach salad with walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.  One unsuspecting sister actually discovered she likes blue cheese.  It was a great dinner!

A trip to South Bend is not complete for us without a visit to the magnificent basilica at Notre Dame.

Mike and his brother Jim ran in a 5k run on Saturday.  The finish line  was in the stadium at Notre Dame.  I don't think I've ever watched the finish of an organized race like this.  It was fun!  Of course, I had my camera all ready to hit the video button as one of my sons crossed the finish line.  But.... as my family is screaming, "There they are.  There they are!"  I'm looking all over the place seeing no familiar runners until after they had crossed the line.  LOL  Oh well.  got a picture afterwards.

For lunch we packed sandwiches and had a picnic on campus.  Fun.  Notre Dame has a beautiful campus.

And it is always my desire when I'm on ND's campus to say a rosary at the grotto.   To say it together with members of my family?  Well, that's the best.

It was a great weekend.  Thanks, Mike!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009


This may seem like an odd topic for a post.

I have been a nail biter most of my life.  Recently, I stopped biting them.  (Well, I stopped biting nine of them.  I still bite one pinky. :-)

I suppose I should paint them, for the fun of it.  I do think nail polish is pretty.

But every time they get long enough to look good polished (not VERY long, mind you, just long enough) I start feeling like they're kind of in the way.  It's harder to get a good grip on a jar I'm trying to open.  It's harder to "dial" a phone number.  It's harder to pick up little things.  

So I end up cutting and filing them to a pretty short length.

Is it because I'm not used to having a nail at all and so they feel conspicuously present?  Maybe I just need to get used to having fingernails.  

When I clip them I start thinking maybe I should just go back to biting them (teehee).  It was one less thing to do.  (I would bite them without even realizing it, it was such an ingrained habit.)

But--  I must say, even short, they look a lot better unbitten.  A LOT better.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Busy, busy times....but fun.

All set for the graduation Mass at my daughter's grade school, a wonderful Catholic school that I love.

And the graduate holding her diploma!!

The graduate's fan club, including all her siblings....


And older girlfriends....teehee

Alumni brothers chatting with a favorite and awesome teacher (who also reads this blog;-)

And a favorite social studies teacher!

Advice from older siblings...... and the shoes I knew would hurt her feet.

Jim, having just won the trophy for the most improved runner on his track team.

...with moral support from younger sister....
Man, I love these family events but it sure is nice at the end of the day to just hang out at home...sweet home.