Simple Things: Missing Summer

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I think I just got tired, but I’ve also been missing it. Just needed a little break, I guess. I tend to work that way. I’m very passionate about something for a while until I burn myself out. Then I move on to something else, and eventually find my way back when the time is right.

It’s been a mild winter so far, which I have mixed feelings about. I don’t mind the mild weather, except for the fact that I find the unseasonably warm conditions (a la global warming) unsettling. Despite the light-jacket-weather, I finally took the kids to get snow boots, in anticipation of a heavy snow that we’re bound to get at some point in the coming weeks.

I don’t think I have the winter blues, but I do miss the sights and sounds of summer. I also just upgraded my Photoshop Elements software and bought some textures and brushes from 2 Lil’ Owls Studio today, so I wanted to play with some photos I took back in July. It’s a bit of a cheat for the “Simple Things Sunday” link-up, but I didn’t think anyone would mind. 😉

IMG_7833_edit_PSE

Then I did a little more playing with a Florabella action and got this, which I like even more.

IMG_7833_edit_Flora2_1024

Simple Things Sunday: Trailblazing

Daddy got a new tractor recently and today he went into the woods behind our house (which we don’t often venture into because of the undergrowth and abundance of spiders, ticks, and chiggers) and cleared a walking trail for us! Afterward, three of us took a walk and used clippers to clear some of the smaller branches that were blocking the new path.

Little Buddy was excited to sit on this rocky outcropping and wanted me to take a picture. I took a few of him looking at the camera (saying “cheeese…burg…eeerrrrrrrrr”), but this one is my favorite. Our neighbors have a similar outcropping that they call “Rock Mountain”, so I asked D what he wanted to call this rock. He said “Smile Rock”.

I’m looking forward to adding some fun elements to the trail… maybe some faces on trees, or a log-stump table and chairs. Eventually maybe we’ll put in a rope web between a couple of trees to climb on. So much possibility! I’ll have to revisit my “outdoor play” board on Pinterest to see what else we can do out there. Do you have any ideas? I envision lots of walks and scavenger hunts with the kids back there, now that we can get around a little easier. Thanks, Daddy!

Simple Things Sunday: Temporary Tattoos

Little Buddy LOVES temporary tattoos. Every time we’re at the doctor’s office and he gets to choose something out of the “goodie” cabinet, he goes for the temporary tattoos. We were there the other day and he wanted to apply the tattoo he picked out before we even left the building.

On Friday, after already having one temporary tattoo on his hand, he asked where we had more. (We usually have a few sitting around, from doctor’s visits, holidays, or parties at preschool.) We found a small stash of five or six and he decided to put all of them on. Then he beamed proudly at all of his tattoos, most of which were on is legs. It really is the simple things that make us happy, isn’t it?

Missing a Friend

Today would have been my college roommate’s 38th birthday. In May she lost a five-year battle with breast cancer. What do you say? She was much too young. It’s hard to make sense of it because it doesn’t make sense.

I meant to write a post for Glynnis weeks ago and share some pictures, but I just didn’t know what to write. I think part of the reason has been shame. I feel shameful that she fought this fight for five long years, yet the last time I actually saw Glynnis was at my wedding, almost 7 years ago. I regret that, while she did a good job emailing us all to update us on her condition, I did a terrible job of reaching out to her, let alone going to see her. What kind of friend was I? I wasn’t. Sending a few emails to a friend battling cancer hardly cuts it.

I don’t know why I didn’t try harder to call or see her before it was too late. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s that time just flew by me. I took time for granted. I didn’t think she was going anywhere and I was too removed to realize the gravity of it all. The truth is, based on the messages that Glynnis sent over the last few years, she was a master at keeping her eyes on the bright side. She made it easy for us (or me, at least) to believe that cancer wasn’t a real threat to her. Even near the end, while at home with hospice care, she was reaching out to everyone else through her Caring Bridge page, letting us all know that she was alright. Sure, she asked for help…. but mostly for her husband and son. In fact, just one week before she passed, she posted her last message, where she talked about her plans for regaining the strength her in legs. Her body was failing her, yet she showed nothing but courage and determination.

So, this meager post is my tribute to Glynnis.

I’m sorry, G, for not doing more while you were still with us. You were a great friend and am so grateful that Ship brought us together. I remember receiving that welcome letter from college, where they listed you as my assigned roommate, and I remember being confused by the order of your name as it was printed on the sheet. So, when I called your house to introduce myself and discuss who was bringing what for our dorm room, I confused everyone when I asked for you by your middle name, Erin.


Remember how we were robbed a good 9 square feet of dorm room space because of that stupid hallway phone booth that didn’t even work? But, luckily our phone cord was about 25 feet long, so we could stretch it out the door and into the booth when we wanted a private conversation. So, it wasn’t a bad deal, after all.

And remember the message-in-a-bottle we left in the ceiling of our room, only to find the girls that were in that room the year before had the same idea and left a message-in-a-bottle themselves?

Our sophomore year dorm room was much cooler than the freshman year room, especially with the bunk beds we scored! It was fun to chat at night in our bunks. Thanks for taking turns with the top bunk. I gotta tell you… I love you, but it drove me a little insane that you would kick off your socks in the middle of the night and, without fail, they’d always drop down into my bed! 🙂

We shared lots of secrets in those dorm rooms, and in the room next door (Jennifer and Lori’s). I’m thankful that, on the sloppiness scale, you and I ranked about the same, which made us a perfect match, I think… along with our frequent bouts of silliness. Oh, and how about those afternoon naps we would take? Nothing like a two-hour nap in between our last class and dinner at the dining hall! We always kept Lori and Jennifer waiting… but those were the best naps!

This is my favorite picture of us… dancing in the gritty mess on the floor left behind by the old rug we called “the sand trap”!

You did have quite a silly side! That’s what I really loved about you: your silliness, spontaneity, and wit. I feel like all the four of us did those first few years of college was laugh until we cried. Seriously, I wish I had a crazy story to tell, but what I remember most is laughing… just laughing. I wish I could hear your laugh just once more.

It would be pretty amazing to play softball with you one more time, too.

After your memorial service, the three of us were regretting the time we’ve lost with you and we promised to get together at least once a  year for a girl’s weekend. So, in July we kept that promise. It was a great visit. We told stories, looked at old photos, and did lots of giggling. But the sounds of your voice and your giggles were missing. Still, it was great to reminisce about those years in college and to have you there in our hearts. We’ll do this many more times and every time we do, we’ll carry you with us. And never again will I let time with a special friend slip away from me, the way I did with you.

Happy Birthday, G! We love you and miss you.

Simple Things Sunday: Magical Mushrooms

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I guess we’ve gotten carried away with the summer. We’ve been busy working on a playhouse for our kids, so that’s been taking up a lot of our free time lately. (More on that later.) The garden has also been a bit of a disappointment this year, so I haven’t had much to share in that arena. I made some rookie gardening mistakes that have made keeping up with its maintenance, with two small kids around, pretty hard to do. (More on that later too.)

We’ve gotten a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks. Seems like every afternoon we get a thunderstorm. When the rain is plentiful around here, so are the mushrooms. I actually bought a field guide to mushrooms, but haven’t used it nearly as much as my reptiles/amphibians or spiders/insects field guides. But I do enjoy the sight of the colorful little mushrooms that seem to pop up out of nowhere.

I spotted these three orange mushrooms growing at the base of a tree near our driveway today.

I wanted to get some photos of them, and my son came along. But for some reason he decided to throw rocks at them while I photographed them, eventually breaking one of them. I was pretty disappointed, as I had asked him several times to stop, but he didn’t. So, I let him know I was disappointed, which must have made him feel bad because he insisted on leading me to another group of mushrooms he had found earlier today. He said they were “so tiny and cute” and he was sure I’d like to photograph them just as much.  At first I just wanted to put the camera away, but he was persistent, so I followed him and he led me to this amazing little patch of beautiful mushrooms.

How magical are these little mushrooms? I loved photographing them and I couldn’t help imagine myself as a tiny person, creature, or even a smurf, hanging out underneath them. (Seriously, where’s Smurfette?) So, I took about 20 pictures of them, then kissed and hugged my son and thanked him for showing me the special patch of mushrooms he found today… they were much more fun to photograph than the three I started with!

Simple Things Sunday: Sunflower

We’ve had some crazy weather lately… extreme heat and a “derecho”, which I’ve never heard of before. The weather was so strong Friday night that I considered waking the kids and heading to the basement. Though the lights flickered several times, and we lost power for a moment or two, we didn’t lose power long-term. It turns out that many people in our community are without power, so I guess we were lucky.

We did have two casualties in the garden. The two biggest sunflowers that I had growing in the garden were laying flat on the ground Saturday morning. One was open; the other had a head on it but hadn’t bloomed yet. I decided to use the downed open sunflower and get some macro shots. They’re hard to photograph from 6 feet over your head, so might as well seize the opportunity and not let it be a total waste. 🙂

Notice the ant at the bottom right.

Simple Things Sunday: Second Birthday and Spray Ground

I posted on Thursday afternoon, the day of my daughter’s birthday, because I was eager to participate in Thursday’s Embrace the Camera link-up. However, my post was premature, as the day wasn’t over. Here is DJ testing the icing on her birthday cake that the four of us shared after supper. She was a little hesitant at first and seemed confused by the two candles on the cake and our singing, but eventually dove right in.

Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet girl!

After dinner a quick shower rolled through and she was having fun watching it through the open door. She even ran out onto the deck for a few moments to play while it rained.

Then she ran back in, looked outside and said “wow! see?”

The next day I took the two of them to a spray ground. DJ was a little nervous about the whole thing, but Mr. D got into it, despite his slow start. Still, neither were running around and getting soaked like the rest of the kids there. It was pretty new for them, though, so perhaps next time they will enjoy it more. I mean, look how fun this is?

Mr. D did finally commandeer this piece of spray equipment. It turned into a series of duels between him and several other kids who took turns sitting on the other spray dome. D had figured out how to plug a few of the holes with his fingers in order to make it spray farther, and he was spraying the kids on the other end while they tried to do the same to him. But their spray dome didn’t work nearly as well. So he was full of devilish giggles. It was funny to watch.

I’m pretty sure their favorite part of the trip to this park was pitching a blanket on the grass and having a snack. DJ even cheered “yay!” when I laid out the blanket. Here’s a sweet photo I got of the two of them enjoying the scenery.

There was a walking/biking trail nearby so after snacks we took a walk. They thought this was so exciting and were happy to lead the way! Don’t they look like they are ready to take on the world together?

We’ll be heading back to this park again very soon… especially if this heat keeps up!