Reminders and Echoes…

This past week we celebrated Little Man’s fourth birthday here.  The pool was ready, the weather was wonderful and it was a great celebration.

Little Miss arrived before Little Man and the time with these two wonderful, lively human beings went much too fast.

Little Miss left just a few hours ago. The house is now quiet.  I have picked up the living room of the remaining things lying around.  Up the stairs went the books and balls and crayons and coloring books.  A few stuffed animals went up the stairs also.

I put the things carried up into the guest area upstairs.  I dared not go into the toy room, at least not yet.  I was in there earlier this morning with Little Miss and the echoes resounding in there were deafening.  The puzzle Little Man put together was still together on the floor.  The paper he was painting on still laying there where he put it.  The trucks are all crashed in disarray and there are puzzle pieces scattered throughout the room.  Little Miss was in there copying how she had seen her cousin playing earlier this week.  She was his shadow, mimicking everything he did.

They became cousins this week, I think.  They no longer just stared at one another.  She followed him closer than his shadow did.  She was under his feet studying his each move.  If he played with the ball, so did she.  Of course this led to the normal stance of most young cousins, throwing things, pushing each other and grabbing things out of each other’s hands.  It was delightful to see!  I could picture them in years to come, chasing one another, challenging each other and having talks that only cousins can have.  It made my heart swell and now, it brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

Yes, it is quieter without the grandchildren here.  We are lonely for them.  We dislike when they leave, our lives are just a bit duller and there is not enough laughter resounding between the two of us.

This visit, though, I realized it was not just the little kids that made leaving so hard.  I have missed ‘my’ kids.  My girls.  Tell-tale signs that they were home make me stop and wipe a tear from my eye.  Seeing towels put into the washer so I didn’t have to put them there.  Reading a note in my guest room guest book.  Seeing a guest room put back together and knowing she did it.  Seeing a favorite coffee cup out and being hesitant to put it away into the dishwasher, knowing that she was the last one to hold it.  Yes, all of these things make me wish for one more hug, one more laugh.

Times go by too fast.  Times that we mostly take for granted.  This week cemented in me that this house is a house we have dreamed of for years.  It is a place where my kids and their kids can let their hair down.  A place where they can relax and not worry about fingerprints on windows or sticky floors or bringing crayons into a livingroom.  It is a place where you can bounce a ball or yourself down the stairs while laughing and screaming ‘boom’ or ‘bump’.  A place to blow bubbles inside. This is the house I always wanted.  A place with a screen door that slams.  A place where there is adventure and fun.  A place to jump off the side of a pool or from the ladder.  This is home, this is where family come to be family, loud, noisy, laughing, talking, remembering and even being annoyed or frustrated.  I am so thankful for my girls and their families.  We may not be wealthy or have a pristine home, but, we are rich in being able to be a family.  I have waited too many years for this and at long last it feels like my dreams have come true.  A family that can come home, and relax. taking naps or finding a room to just sit and get caught up with one another.

I have had a great week.  I sit here a little more tired, and a lot more lonely, but my heart is full when I listen to the echoes that are still bouncing around the room.  My heart is full when I see remnants of toys and towels and floats for the pool.    So, thank you to my girls and their families making this Grammy a happy one, albeit a very teary-eyed one today.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)

Some Days…

Some days it is cold and rainy.  It is dreary and gray outside.  The rain beats steadily down on the roof and the birds stick close to the remaining foliage on the trees.

Some days it is nice to sit wrapped up in a blanket and do nothing.  Chat with friends from long ago, online.  Catch up on the little things in life.

Some days it is nice to have some soup to simmer on the stove and look forward to a bowl for dinner.   Then add some girl scout cookies for dessert.

Some days are like this.   Rainy, damp, cold outside.  Inside a nice blanket, warm soup and a nice bright fire in the fireplace.

That some day is now and I am enjoying a quiet and peaceful day today.  How about you?


Sweet Overload…

I have spent many hours this week on that addicting site called Pinterest.  I have looked and pinned several things I am dreaming of for our hopeful home.  I have had a wonderful time looking, pinning and dreaming.  It is a great filler before I start to pack and clean and all that fun moving stuff… but, I digress.

Today I went on Pinterest to look for comfort food recipes.  It is a brisk, damp, rainy day here and I wanted to make something different for supper.

I found a recipe for a soup that I had had this summer and enjoyed thoroughly.  Decided that was our entrée, and I had crusty rolls in the fridge, so that was taken care of.  I knew I would head to the store and made a list of what I needed to get.  Then, in those wonderful  pictures that cover Pinterest, I saw our dessert.  I started to drool.  I knew I had to make it.  I added those ingredients to my shopping list and off I went.

The soup was wonderful.  Hearty, thick and hot.  We are looking forward to round two of it tomorrow afternoon, knowing it will taste even better the second day.

Our dessert?  Butterfinger hot chocolate.  It is made in the crock pot and takes over two hours to make.  Hubby and I have each had one cup.  We would love to have a second cup, but know we would go into a sugar coma and either fall asleep immediately or (and most likely, me)  start bouncing off the walls while talking at the speed of light.

I usually do not fall prey to pretty pictures of desserts.  By that, I mean, I usually drool, but don’t make.  I must have been very weak today.  I went to the store, bought the ingredients and then caved and bought two boxes of girl scout cookies on the way out.

Today, I need to be locked up.  Or, as one of my dearest friends would remind me, a prayer I once prayed in her presence, “Lord, please bless this sugar!”

Amen, I mean, thanks for stopping by, I have a wall or two that I need to bounce off.  DAF

A Blustery Day…

I love winter.  I really do.  I love the cold, the wind and whatever is thrown at us in precipitation.  Snow, rain, ice, it’s all wonderful.

Today is a blustery day.  Yes, I know, I live in the south.  It can’t be that blustery.  But, yes, it is a blustery day today.

I just came in from walking our dog.  The moon is bright in the clear sky.  The flags on the porches are all blowing straight out, like they have been starched stiff.  The wind is whipping around the cul-de-sac and down the hill (well, as much of a hill that can be found here in the Lowcountry).

As I walked up the hill, I thought how blustery it is.  I chuckled because I know there were times in my life that I would consider this weather a hot spell.  So, as I walked our little Shugo, I thought of the different places I have lived and the blustery days I have experienced.

Being born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I know what cold is.  I know what snow is.  I have fallen on ice walking to and from school, uphill, downhill, two miles along.

From there I went to Norfolk, VA.  We lived in a small cheap beach apartment the winter before we were transferred to Japan.  We would turn on the wall heating unit before heading to bed and wake up in the morning to see a mound of sand gathered on the floor around the heating unit, which was stone cold….  Youth and young love made me think this was wonderful!

In Japan we lived on a converted WWII Japanese airstrip.  We lived in occupation era Navy houses.  The view was incredible, Mt. Fuji and Sagami Wan (bay), but our house was one all by itself at the end of the runway and we had nothing in front of our house except open field.  The wind would whip up and buffet that little house and it would almost knock me over every time we left the house in the winter.  Of course, now it most likely wouldn’t move me at all, since I was young and skinny back then.

From Japan, we went to Maine.  Need I say more about knowing what cold is like?  When the temperature rose to  O degrees we thought it was spring!  I loved the winter in Maine and the other two seasons, July and August.  It is heaven on earth and I would move back there in a minute.  Snow, ice, wind chill and all.  It is truly God’s country.

From Maine we thawed out in San Diego.  I know you are thinking, no bluster there.  You are right for the most part, but, living there as long as I did, I saw some frost, and even a hint of snow.   And, we went for a 40 minute ride to the mountains to experience our wind and cold.  The last Valentine’s Day in California, hubby and I actually took a ride in the mountains and got snowed in up there.  It was cold and windy and very snowy outside the beautifully warm bed and breakfast we landed in.

So, I have decided blustery days happen everywhere.  Those days that chill you to the bone.  Where you come inside and think of warm drinks and warm jammies.  Tonight is like that and I am very content and happy that my hands got cold as did my cheeks while I walked our dog.   Who knows, I may decide he needs to go back out again, just so I can enjoy this winter feeling.


A Big Loop…

Towards the end of October Hubby and I went on an adventure.  We set off with our little dog, a tent, an air mattress, and some supplies.  We went north a bit and then straight across Interstate 40.  Each night we stopped, set up our tent (not without a lot of grumbling from yours truly), had a small dinner and went to bed with the sun.  We woke up with the sun, listened for a while and when we were brave enough to move in the early morning cold, we got up.

We did this each night except one, in Tucumcari, NM.  There the campground was on a high plateau overlooking mountains and it was gorgeous.  It was also so windy that we knew a session of putting up a tent would do us in.  So, hubby, being a wise man, opted for a cabin for us.  It was like heaven for me.  Inside, just pulling out our sleeping bags and having something to sit on.  There was a small front porch with a swing and we sat watching the sky and snacking.  It was a piece of heaven for me.

The next night we were in Flagstaff, AZ.  The campground was surrounded by mountains, and it was a lovely place to stop.  Of course, the overnight temperature was in the low 30’s, but we did stay in our tent.  I was a bit leery at first, but we were toasty and warm and it was an adventure.

The adventure paused for a few weeks while we welcomed our Little Miss, born on Halloween.  A little pumpkin at 5 lbs 13 oz..  She had a bunch of black hair and she is sweet.  She was early and arrived three days after we arrived, so we were able to spend some time getting to know her.  She is funny.  She coos but also grunts.  She makes faces and would rival any of the photos of girls with the pouty lips, she has that down already.  She smiles sweetly, yes, mostly from gas, but they are sweet smiles nonetheless.  We stayed for a couple of weeks.  We loved each moment of getting to know her.  Then, with tears (mostly me) we said goodbye and headed home.

On the way home, hubby, again being wise, went to hotels.  We traveled the southern route of Interstate 20.  We had never travelled that way before and saw many wonderful sights.

There will be stories coming from this trip, but, for now, I wanted to get back onto my blog and catch you up.  Thanks for stopping by, I have missed you all.  DAF

As It Was In The Days of Noah…

Yes, I know it is Easter time and Facebook and blogs are filled with words remembering the significance of this week.  Yes, I heartily agree with all of this, but, no, this is not a spiritual post.  Just a reference.

Noah built the ark, and the rains started.   Last night I was thinking of pulling out the plans for a boat, just didn’t know how quickly I could get it made.

The rains started yesterday afternoon, as expected.  The winds blew, the rains came and stayed.  It was cozy inside.  We donned our slickers and took the dog out a couple of times for a wet walk.

Last evening we looked at the pond.  It’s not a particularly lovely pond anyhow, more like a culvert with water in it.  There is an area of brush at one end of the pond, the brush stands at least ten feet in height.  Last evening the brush was half covered in water.  The pond was almost full.  The roads were full, as was our front yard.

Now, I know the house is raised just a bit for times like these.  I understand that.  My concern in all of this?  The three alligators who live in the pond.  Two of them are pretty little and I half expected to look out this morning to see them on my porch.

But, as the sun attempted to shine today, I looked out to puddles, a pond that had drained and no gators on my porch.  So, now we are waiting for the next round of storms and again we will watch the pond.

Have a great Easter weekend.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

A Job well Done…

We live in an area surrounded by oak trees and pine trees.  The ice storm a couple of weeks ago brought down several pine branches which were hauled away last week.

This week hubby and I started yard work.  He went and mowed the first of the weeds  at the beginning of the week.  I said weeds, as the grass is still dormant, but the weeds are tenacious and they pop up quickly.  We raked some leftover pine needles and boughs and swept the front of the house gutters and the driveway.  We were pleased at our work.

By Thursday, however, we looked outside once more and realized there was still much to do.  Yesterday we dodged cold rain spurts and started raking the leaves in the back and side yards.  We finished raking late yesterday afternoon.  The yard looked better with several piles of leaves resting along the yard.  We bagged some of the piles and the rest we left for today.

This morning I started raking the piles together while hubby started to burn them.  I know this is controversial, but it is a something that is done here in our area.  The southern California part of me was hesitant at first.  But, soon, our roots started to show.  After all, we are from hearty stock of Pennsylvania and there we burn debris.

So, with hose on the ready we had a small bonfire in our backyard.  The fire mound was never higher than two feet in height and the flames were never high at all.  After three hours we are back inside.  The ash is in the ash can cooling.  The site of the fire is standing in water and mud.  The backyard looks wonderful.  And, hubby and I?  We are a bit tired.  But waiting for part two today when a neighbor is coming over to help remove a fallen tree that has been there since we moved.

Hubby still cannot do much with his shoulder and so it has been an adventure of care and caution for us.  We are a good team in yard work though, and I know that this evening we will crawl into our seats and sit not wanting to move a muscle!

The weather is beautiful today and it feels like spring here.  We are ready for the next season, the yard is clear and we can see the grass waking up and turning green.  Hope you have a touch of spring where you are today.  DAF

A Day to Snuggle…

The cold snap has passed.  It is becoming a distant memory of this past week.  The cold was bitter, and we are in the south.  I can only imagine how cold it was in New England this week.

I loved being able to dress in winter things.  I pulled out my real winter gloves, my scarves, my knit hat and my winter coat.  I still shivered when walking the dog.  It was wonderful to feel the cold again.  It makes you feel alive, at least it does me.

Today I walked the dog without a jacket.  The heat is turned off in the house.  Yet, today, I feel more like it is winter than I did in the cold.  Today is a dark, windy, rainy day.  Branches have blown off trees today.  The water in the pond is dancing under the wind.  The sky is threatening more rain.  To coin a phrase widely used around the campfire, it was a dark and dreary night….

It is a good day to climb on the couch, wrap up in a blanket and sleep.  A deep winter’s sleep.  I have thought about a good nap all day long.  But, laundry had called and it is almost dinner time, so no naps today.

I hope you have a calm, restful weekend.  DAF

A recurring theme…

Thinking of my blog and writing this year, I have half decided that I will have a theme for each month.  Before you get too impressed, I only came up with two very obvious themes.  January is winter and February is love.   I am still not convinced I will stick to these themes, but, I figure it’s worth a shot.

I never saw winter happening like it has the past week.  I mean really happening in the weather here in North America.  Winter has slammed into this continent with a huge statement in its wake.    I have read several blogs and posts on Facebook all with the theme of winter and weather and temperatures.  It was enough for me to cower and cry ‘Uncle’ !

From the caliber of writing about this season, I know my pieces will pale in comparison.  So many have the talent to put you in their places, snow up to the waist, wind howling through eaves, snow drifts overtaking vehicles.   It is incredible the images we see and the details given.  It all sends a shudder through me and I search for a mug of something hot and steaming that I can sip while sitting cuddled up in a thick warm blanket in front of roaring fire.

I am going to continue in writing about winter this month.  It is a challenge I have given myself.  Winter is a season.  It is a season that we see phenomenal images of icicles and snow drifts and wind blowing.  It is also a season we go through in our lives, when personal things are frozen and cold.  When our hearts seem dormant and still.  In both instances winter is a time of growth.  Unseen though it may be, there is a deep growth going on in winter.

My hope is that this winter (weather or personal) will be long enough to produce good, healthy growth in the spring.  Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

Out with the Old…

We live in a small neighborhood, there are two roads in this subdivision and there are 37 houses here.  So, when I walk the dog we walk the entire neighborhood.

This morning as I walked onto the porch I could hear the wind.  I love days like this.  The neighborhood has tall pine trees, oak trees and some sycamore trees.  Each house is surrounded by trees, especially ours, which has a buffer of trees in our backyard.  Beyond the buffer is a large reservoir.

I love hearing the sound of the wind.  It rustles the branches and the trees sway in choreographed motion.  The sky is gray and we are having rain off and on.  It is a delightful day.

Some small branches were strewn across yards, wind chimes were not melodically chiming, they were being slammed against porch posts.  The remnants of leaves were flying around as if the trees were trying to shed the last of this past year’s foliage.

I enjoyed my walk this morning.  I watched as the trees bent and birds flew on the air currents.  What truly came to mind, is this, the wind is blowing the rest of the year away.

That thought has kept coming to mind.  To get rid of the old year.  It is tired and has had its day.  It was filled with good things, but it is almost empty.  So, as I listen to the wind outside, I sit here thinking of what I will do with the remaining days of 2013.  How will I end it?  What else is in store for me in the waning hours?

Anticipation begins to fill my heart.  A new year coming.  A new season of buds and blossoms and leaves.  Pretty exciting, huh?  I think so.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF