Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Year Ends

This was a very good year.  
I am looking back on it and remembering all the things I did, some of the things I didn't do , some things I wish I had done.  
I'm glad I did my day by day posts, I'm glad I had a good garden.  I'm glad I had vacations and visits and company.  
I'm glad that I had everyday days.
I want more of them.
It has been so cold this fall heading into winter Jim hasn't done much work.  They don't work Fridays in the winter which meant long weekends at home for projects and enjoying family visits.  

We started that vacation with our daughter coming back home from college.  Even if she didn't come from very far, there is a familiar coat hanging on the hooks.

Jim's sister came to visit and she has been longing to paint the living room so that was in the plan, but first we had all three boys during mom's volunteer time. 
Those lower shelves have two baskets that hold my cookie cutters and various other small tools and trinkets, and make a lovely noise when dumped and great play toys as well.

 I was glad for the chance to take everything off the walls and make a fresh start.  I have wanted to paint that mirror forever, and finally got around to it with the painting fever going on.

Lynette's choice for a holiday treat were these cinnamon roll pancakes that are making their way around pinterest.  They were pretty easy to make, but we had a hard time with the melted butter and cinnamon in the bag.  At first it was too hot to hold, and then after cooling was too stiff to squeeze nicely onto the pancakes.  And the taste?  Only ok.  

Jim's sister brought us Spam for a treat.  I know people make fun of it.  We ate a lot of it when I was a kid.  I know I liked it then.  She says buy the real thing or else,
(you will regret it)

I made cut-out cookies to take to Lorene's for supper on Christmas day.  I haven't made any for a few years.  They were a family tradition when I was a kid, and when my kids were little. They were raised with soft cookies and some of these must have been thinner than others.  Who wouldn't want to find this note among the cookies? 

Christmas day was a nice day.  A beautiful day for the time of year and since we've had more below freezing days than not since the middle of November.  The temperature was in the 40s so Zane got his birthday present early and had one good days of jumping before the temps plunged again.  

December 29th.  A lovely fall of snow, but after my folks got here the next day, the wind blew all that snow around.  I'm glad I have a built in snow removal system.  

Mother/Daughter lunch date with our favorite.  Lo Mein.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day by Day--November

I love this reminder of my days.
I'm not sure I want to do it another year.  I need another idea.  
And some self-discipline.
Some of these photos are rather lame.
The photos of people this month aren't very good. The main reason it that I don't have a very good camera, another is that I could remember to put the setting on 'active', the last reason, is those boys are active.  

2. Lynette's first pumpkin pie, using prepared pie crust (mine), all by herself.
3. 'Family' garland that came with a crafty weekend invitation with a special friend.
4. Pretty much self-explanatory.
5. This doctor's appointment marks the start of a battle on a decade's old plantar's wart.
6. Sunrise, I know, again.  The sunrise every morning is one of my favorite things about this place.
7. This is what happens when you try to get a 3-year old and a 1-year old in the same place at the same time to look the same way to get a photo,
8. I love my big wooden spoon.  I love how water and big spoons entertain toddlers for a long time.
9. My daughter's dorm.  We pick her up there every Sunday morning.
10. A box is one of the best toys ever for pre-schoolers.
11. Snow!! It's only November!!
12. The camera is in the hands of a one-year old!
13. Painting fabric paint on the bottom of my felted slippers is supposed to keep them from wearing out.
14. 8 degrees seems so cold for November.
15. This lovely card and candy from a dear friend on our crafty weekend.  (and where are the photos from the crafty weekend?, who knows? I think I was too busy playing not clicking.)
16. Now it's -3 degrees!!!  I am not ready for January weather in November.
17. Our favorite card game. 
18. This photo really belong to the crafty weekend, but I'm scrambling for photos in a few spots. This house is as cute inside as out. And I even got to stay there and look all around.
19. Sunrise through the apple tree.  I just love to see the sky on fire.
20. I forgot to take a photo of my actual sewing machine that was deemed unfixable in the hands of the repairman.  The tension knob was broken, and the stitch length adjuster (which had never worked properly) was frozen and broke. So, it is no longer with us. It was about 50 years old.  I am saddened, this is the kind of machine I learned to sew on, mom remembers sewing my baby clothes on it.  My machine was my sister-in-laws graduation present.  It was used then.  
21. Barry is in one of those cloth bins.  
22. I love the mindless watching of these bubble thingys.  I remember when I was a kid I would watch the bubble rise in a bottle of Cornhusker Lotion. It was thick and glutinous and worked just like these things.  I wonder if either are ever around anymore.
23. What I've been reading.  This is a good synopsis of the events running up to and through D-Day.  It also is a stark reminder of just how close we came to losing everything.
24. Love this scarf.  No pattern, just a picture and some measurements. One daughter's request.
25. I seriously love little boys in little mittens drinking from little mugs.
26. The boys decorated cupcakes at home for Thanksgiving while we were in Indiana.
27. Turkey, my favorite for thanksgiving. Except for the stuffing.
28. Covered bridge in Indiana.
29. Mississippi River Bridge.
30. I was getting desperate for filler.  It is too had to get state signs when you are going over rivers.  
1. Finished fancy knit baby afghan.  I love to work the patterns on these.
2. Me, by Barry. Ugh.
3. Scarf for my other daughter. Griffyndor. 
4. I closed out my safety deposit box, after months of wondering where on earth I put the second key.  I was resigned to pay for the missing key, but I found it by chance.  
5. Look very, very closely and you can see the fluttering hands over the keys.
6. 'Aren't you glad we're here to help you eat all these cookies you baked, Gramma?' Somewhere there is supposed to be a photo of the cookies we baked.  hmmm

Sigh, this didn't get downloaded on to the computer the first time around.  So, here it is.  Decorated by the illustrious company of Zane and Barry. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Giving Thanks

I have just discovered it is past time for another day by day post.   '
I really wanted to tell my story about Thanksgiving first.  
Tell, not show, you'll find out why later.  

We went to Indiana to be with the Troyers for the holiday.  I like to take trips with my husband, we enjoy the visiting time and seeing new places.  
Seeing new places isn't nearly as exciting in late fall when everything is dull colored under cloudy skies.  And trips aren't nearly as exciting when driving through a state and a half with snowy wet roads at 31 degrees and visibility less than a mile.  
We got there unscathed, because we are old and cautious, not wanting to end up like some of those zipping past us that end up in the median later on in the day.  
It is lovely to be with new friends and to see new houses, new ideas for decorating, new traditions for the day, and eat lots of good food.
We had turkey there, just like we do at home.
It was stuffed--I haven't had that before.
We had mashed potatoes and gravy--check
Green beans with onions--we usually do that casserole with the fried onions on top.
Cheezy noodles--that was a new one but a keeper recipe anyhow.
Bread and buns with jelly and butter--check. 
What we didn't have:
black olives
sweet potatoes
We still stuffed ourselves beyond capacity, visited long around the table, washed the dishes (by hand, mind you, the dishwasher was broken), staggered into the living room and waited to be empty enough for pie.  
Now pie, that's tradition.  
We had pumpkin--I brought that.
And apple--brought that, too.
Cherry--yep, used to that.
Pecan pie--I've seen it, and only one bite ever has made it into my mouth.
Raisin--not sure about that one.  

I forgot to mention the table.  It was beautiful.  The lady of the house set it beautifully with a lovely set of dishes.  We had cheese cake in goblets, date pudding in pink depression glass bowls, sparkling grape juice in another goblet and a water glass.  
I had a lovely photograph of my table setting, but here is the only sadness of the whole trip.  When we were out driving around to see the country, on our way back, I got flustered and deleted all the pictures off my camera. 
(and I had no other battery for my other camera, it was at home)
There are no perfect pictures of one table setting with the turkey behind.  There is no photo of the longest covered bridge in the world.  There is no picture of the sunset that day.  
What I do have is not perfect, I took a few after the deletion, had a few on another camera and got a few off Jim's phone, but I was rather demoralized after all that.  

We really had a lovely time, we felt at home, these people fit in our lives just like...
well, I was going to say an old shoe, but that sounds kind of bad, or family, but you just take what you get there.  
Really, they are just our kind of folks.  
That's the best kind. 

This. Is. All, I. Have.
Dinner time

Beautiful dishes.

Madison, Indiana--tree city.  
The first tree grew out of the root itself, Now, they plant one.

We saw the cutest ever soap shop!

 Covered bridge, one of four in their county.

Over the Mississippi

We really did go out of state!

Monday, November 17, 2014

October Day by Day

I did a little better this month taking a photo every day with just one spot with "how long has it been since I took one?"
 This is life today.

28. Menomonie, Wisconsin
29. My mailbox mum.  It is gorgeous. But you can see that.
30. Barry doesn't like bugs, but who should be afraid of a dragonfly?  It wasn't long before he was chasing them with me.

1. Wild hair on the trampoline.
2. Calm hair after the haircut.
3. Christian got a haircut, too.  These boys don't look so much like babies anymore, but little boys sure steal my heart.
4. The blue with pink clouds is rather a unique sunrise.
5. These are my mainstays.  I love tea from my kettle and wheat cereal for breakfast.
6. Here are two years worth of hair.
7. I've been doing some deep cleaning.  It was bedroom day today. It always gets worse before it gets better.
8. I love my sunrises.
9. Sorting Lego pieces, I find I have a lot of heads without bodies.
10. Portrait of me, by Zane.
11. The ubiquitous water bottle plus my second, and better water bottle holder.
12. These are old and beautiful pillow slips with tatting insertion.  They've gone to a new and more appreciative owner.
13. Me and the Giant Peach, with compliments to Roald Dahl. (Too bad I didn't think to have Jim hold it.
14. The "Betsy books" by Maud Hart Lovelace are some of my favorites.
15. I've discovered that these magic pops, sold in our new HyVee store and the only snacky type food I can eat comfortably.  They just melt away into nothing, because they are nothing. 
16. October's bright blue weather.  The blue and gold of October make it a favorite month.  We were on our way to Ogallala with a load of equipment for a job. Jim had to make an extra trip since they needed more loads than they had drivers and I went along for the ride.  Actually I think this was done on a Saturday, like the next one.
17. These glasses came from my Grandma Appleman.  I am very careful with them since I don't want the dishwasher to wash the pattern off.  I wonder how old they are.  I don't think they were used much, they are in pristine condition.
18. Woolly bear caterpillers.  About the only ones I can tolerate, However, my aversion to caterpillers does not extend to the furry ones.  Unless they are on me. 
19.  This day we spent several hours in Cottonmill park.  It was a perfect fall day.  We wandered around looking at the leaves and the geese and the caterpillers.  We drove around the park and just generally enjoyed the day!
20. Volunteer day with some of my favorite people.
21. It was foggy this morning.
22. I love the colors of harvest.  I am a grandchild of the soil. I love to watch the round of the seasons.
23. I planted a very small 1" tall morning glory plant that grew up that corn plant by my deck stairs. (See past day by day posts.)
24. Zane was home on a "mom goes to school today and gramma comes to watch us" day. This was a boy firefighter, the purple balloon was the lady.
25. This photo was posted on facebook by some interested parties.  This was a long time ago, like 20 years ago.  It is hard to believe that the little girl pictured is all grown up and a mama, and that my mama, is just a little older in that photo than I am now.  My hair is older than hers was, though.
26. More fog, and those fog photos ought to be shown bigger than this because they are really neat.
27. Violets blooming in the fall.
28. I love this little statue of the girl with the frog. It has moved from place to place among my flowers. Evening shadows are lengthening across the board Lynette painted.  The petunias were a volunteer surprise by the front door.
29. Lynette and I seem to be the only ones that enjoy this game, and she beats me every time.
30. Harvest is winding down for many farmers.  The shorn fields are as beautiful as the standing corn.
31. My hands.  When a three year old takes a photo, he's not really looking to see what he is getting.  This isn't a very good one of my hands.  I was thinking of those hands.  For 50 years they have served me well.  I hope I will use them to serve others.  

1. Our first (of several I hope) pumpkin pie.  We had two made by my daughter's hands. (And my head.)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Boys, Boys

As anyone knows who reads this blog, I look after my grandsons for a few hours on Fridays.  I try to remember to bring my camera along so I can take pictures if anyone does anything cute.  
Since looking after three boys is usually not a hands free activity I don't always get any.  

However, this is what we were doing while Christian was down for his nap. 
(In case anyone is worried about neglect, since we were outside and he was in, the monitor turned up all the way worked very well.)

Barry knows just how to run a motorcycle. 

Now, a camera in the hands of little boys...

(Sigh, I am old school, they know too much)

And, back in my hands.
These two can play fairly well together as long as Barry is following big brother.  You can see here, he wants to do things his way.
Look closely.

This a boy balloon fireman, the girl one was purple. 
Imagination and an energetic spirit fires this boy,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I am Cancer Free!

Ten days ago, I posted what I figured would be my last "cancer/recovery" post, but I was wrong.  
THIS will be the last post.

I had an appointment with my oncologist today.  I had previously done the x-ray he asks for. I had blood drawn, my blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature taken.  Then we sit down for the routine, any new symptoms, pain, weakness, change? Are there any questions?  Are you eating well?  
I get my lungs checked, my lymph nodes checked.  This is all standard procedure. 
Then she goes out to bring back the doctor who comes in all smiles, "this a a milestone, this is the place we've been working for".  "You're two years past treatment, we don't need to check you so closely"
If I was to have a recurrence it would have happened by now.  
He didn't ask me the 40 million questions about how I am living my life like he usually does.  He just gently reminded me that I fought through a horrible time and now it's over.  

It's over.  
I feel weird.
  It's like somebody just gave me the keys to the rest of my life.  I feel like someone is letting go of a string and I'm flying away.  
There's a little piece in there that is frightened with the letting go.  

I guess it's just hard to believe it's real. 


I still have 6 month check ups for the next year or so.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Perks--That's what the title means.

That's was I get when I look after my two youngest grandsons while my daughter goes to class and volunteers.  The class time I spend at their house, the volunteering at mine. 
What I also get is tired.  But that is not what this post is about.  

It's about playdough, pickups and trailers, and Barry's smirk.

It's about a beautiful blue-eyed boy, tongue or no tongue.

It's about an outfit, three times around.

It's about the third boy in the Little Tykes car.

It's about photos taken mid-jump.

And photos of wild hair.

It's getting a smile everytime you ask, "say, cheese!"

And last, but not least, it's about a three year old boy, who is very afraid of any kind of bugs right now, getting brave enough to point out a dragon fly. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014

Two years ago, to the day, I finished my treatments for a cancerous tumor in my sinuses.  
Two years ago I started the recovery process.
July 16th of that year I started the longest 2 1/2 months of my life.
6 weeks ago I was released from regular MRIs.  I am cancer free.

I am having a hard time writing this post.  I am hoping it is the last cancer related-to-me post I will ever make.
I want to write this as a reminder of those things that are not the same as they used to be.  I don't want to come off as whiny, since some things have changed for the worse, but I would like this to be an "I know where she's coming from" moment to someone out there who goes through something like this.
No one goes through any sort of cancer and treatment without forever feeling a little haunting fear.  
Thankfully, that fear isn't always there.  Life is busy enough to crowd it out most of the time.

There are changes in my body that make it so I never will forget I had cancer.  There are things I have to push out of my mind and not think about because it makes me think about what I don't have instead of what I do.

My sinus tumor was spread throughout the sinus cavity in my forehead and down into one beside my nose and under one eye. In that space behind the forehead is the olfactory nerve, the nerve that tells the brain what things smell like.  The tumor was there so the nerve that does the smelling is gone. I can't smell anymore, nothing, and it isn't going to come back.  Many people don't realize that with the sense of smell gone, much of the sense of taste is gone, too.  I was told that I would have just the basic tastes, sour, salt, sweet, bitter, and umami.

Umami /ˈmɑːmi/, a savory taste,is one of the five basic tastes,
(together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty). 
A loan word from the Japanese, umami can be translated as "pleasant, savory taste." This particular writing
was chosen by Professor Kikunae Ikeda from umai "delicious" and mi "taste."
People taste umami through receptors for glutamate, commonly found in its salt form as the food additive '
monosodium glutamate (MSG). For that reason, scientists consider umami to be distinct from saltiness.

However, I don't have any sweet taste, except a little something in honey and fruit., that isn't really sweet, just different.

Because my tumor was large and very aggressive, I was given very aggressive treatment, two kinds of chemotherapy and radiation, all at the same time.  Both radiation and chemo make enough changes in the body that the side effects last a very long time.  They told me a year to 18 months.  Then they told me two years.  Some of the side effects are permanent. Some I didn't expect.  Some the doctors didn't expect.
I received the maximum dosages of radiation to the front part of my brain, my sinus area and my neck, to make sure that no rogue cancer cells escaped into my lymph system.  Radiation to the mouth kills the salivary glands and once they are dead, they don't come back so I drink water all the time to compensate for the resulting dry mouth and to facilitate swallowing. I have water handy at home and carry a water bottle out of the house.  The radiation produced scar tissue in my throat, essentially making it smaller and making swallowing more difficult.
Food management is a major issue in my life today, and will probably always be.  Chewing is harder because of loss of muscle strength and lack of the saliva that breaks down food as I chew, Scar tissue affects how wide I can open my mouth.  My tongue isn't as effective for the same reasons as above for controlling the food in my mouth.
I can eat many things, but they need to be wet, or able to get wet.  Some things I can use water to help get things out of my mouth and into the esophagus.  Some things I would rather avoid.
Spicy foods, citrus, and vinegar still burn my mouth which is rather like starting over two years ago with brand new skin in there.  I am hoping my mouth will toughen up yet over time.
Food isn't nearly as enjoyable as it was.  For years I wanted my life to live by the rule,
"eat to live, not live to eat".  I have achieved that goal.  I don't eat because I enjoy the taste, I eat because I want to live.
That used to be a problem, and when my metabolism went down, my weight went up.  I am thinner now, not because of any great will power or decisions on my part, but because eating is hard for me.
Some days it would be easier not to eat at all, but thankfully I get hungry, and I am also coming to realize that without food, I have no energy and get depressed.

Another side effect that I am having a hard time coming to terms with is my lack of energy.  I can't do as much as I used to and after two years of waiting, this may be all I get.  Thankfully, I can do most of my own work and some extra, but I can't get everything done I used to do.  Somethings just have to wait.  It's like I aged 20 years in that 2 1/2 months.  Most people get 20 years to do that.

One totally unexpected side effect was the affect that radiation had on my hearing.  My Eustachian tubes do not work properly since I had radiation and caused fluid buildup behind my ear drums resulting in hearing loss.  To counteract that I had tubes put in my eardrums, which eventually fell out leaving holes in the ear drums which also cause hearing loss.  So, I hear about half as well as I used to.  When I first went to the ear doctor about the hearing loss, he says very casually, "oh, that can happen after radiation."
I don't know whether it is better to know these things before treatment or after.
Most of me thinks after since I had enough to face just getting through treatment and it is easier to be thankful afterwards for what is left.

Yes, I've lost of a lot of things.  My smell, most of my taste, and a good share of my hearing.
My voice has changed and I can't sing decently anymore.  
I've lost my previous energy, and some of my brain power.
I've lost weight.  
I have not lost my life, my sight, my cheerfulness and my enjoyment of life.  
I have gained a greater appreciation for my family, my friends, and my life.  
My life is different from what it was.  
It will always be different.  
In some ways, I look ahead with trepidation.  What will old age be like for someone like me?
That, and knowing that few people really understand what life is like for me are the hardest things for me to face.  
You know, everyone has something to face, and I don't know what they are facing either.  It is hard to understand just what someone else is going through unless you have walked in their shoes.  
Yes, life could be better, but it could also be so much worse.  
And I am thankful for everything I have.

Here are a few links that mark the changes.
During treatment.

One year.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

August/September--Day by Day

I really lost the ball on this "take a photo every day" during this cycle.  At one point I woke up and thought, "I haven't taken any photos lately!"  That spell was over a week.  
So, what I have done is used 35 photos taken over the course of what should have been the 5 weeks of consecutive days in the August/September cycle and used those.  
They were not take one a day, but they were all taken for a reason, some with this post in mind, some not.  They are numbered in numerical order, not calendar order. 

1. Our pullets are laying eggs, so now we get a double yolk-er now and again.
2. Every morning I notice the sunrise.  It is new every morning.
3. This was taken August 26th.  The day I went for what turned out to be my final MRI, barring exceptional circumstances.  These are my MRI socks.  
4. This mug from my dad, "What cancer cannot take from you It cannot take away your faith, shatter your hope or lesson your love.  It cannot destroy true friendship, invade the soul, or take away eternal life.  It cannot conquer your spirit"
5. A Friday babysitting day, Lorene is in class, I am watching the two little boys.  
6. August 27th, Barry turned three.
7. We celebrated Barry's birthday on the 29th, with a construction birthday cake.
8. I remember these dishes from when I was a kid.  They were the "special" ones, but they weren't favorite's of my mom's so she gave them to Lorene, who loves them.
9. Barry helped Papa build a sandbox for his birthday present.
10. Zane spent Barry's birthday hidden in a cave of blankets, downstairs, away from the party lest he infect everyone with a stomach virus.
11. Callaway Kite Fly, August 30th.  It was a pretty neat day, watching all sorts of colorful flags flying.  The best was one with 5 fish attached to one line, Each fish was over 10 feet long.
12. One rooster in amongst the hens.  He made good broth, but tough eating.
13. I love this little vase that usually hangs on my window.  Those little pink roses I also love.  There is just something about pink roses.  Besides, I carried them when I was married.
14. My brother gave us a tie-dye pair of pajamas when Lorene was little.  She wore them from age 2-5 and then Lynette wore them until they were too small.  When Zane was born Tim sent him a little onesie suit of the same stuff.  Now, all three of those boys have worn the little one, and boy2 is on the large one.
15. When you want chocolate chip cookies and all you have is mini m&m's....
16. The "three cuspideers" together at York after many years not together at York. 
17. Irrigation has ended.  The corn is drying.
18.  Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.
19. Another Friday babysitting.  Barry likes my homemade playdough best.
20. Scrapbooking again.  Lynette's graduation book, her photos until the end of 2014 and most of my stuff is going OUT!! Sorted and thrown.
21. Yay! Grapes from a friend.  I will sort them and put them in the freezer to be made into juice and jam in the middle of winter.
22. I have the two little boys on Monday afternoons while mama is volunteering with the Activity Director at the nursing home.  This Little Tykes car is now on multi-generational use.
23. This is a third boy wearer of this cute little outfit, too.
24. Anyone remember Ticonderoga pencils?
25. I love the sunsets, too, but I don't know how well the pink shows up in-between the leaves.
26. John Deere shirts.
27. At the zoo with great-grandpa, gramma and papa, grammy and auntie, mom, dad, and three little boys. I was worn out with all that walking. 
28. Our ash tree is rushing the season.
29. Harvest has started.
30. It is embarrassing to think how long this sign has been in the cupboard without being on the wall for Jim to see.  I deep cleaned the cupboard, found it and with the help of 'command strips'...viola.
31. I've got my things ready to grab and go tomorrow.  My purse, my knitting and my ever present water bottle.
32. Leaves are falling in pretty colors in Wisconsin.
33. Barns and dairy farms are a big feature of the area we were in.
34. Our weekend was more special than colored trees.
35. Sunday go-to-meeting shoes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

July/August Day by Day--sort of

This is the worst month yet of recording an every day photo.  It just didn't get done.  I was way busier this month with the garden in huge production mode and I was too busy to remember and too tired to think.  
This however, is the point, to remember those busy days because they can go by so fast and then I think: what happened? where did the time go?  what did I do?  
This post is a mix of some of the highlights as well as some of the main events.  Where I didn't take photos, I put in more of the latter.  
Some of these photos are hard to see, but it isn't the photos so much as what I want to remember about those days.

20. My hair is long enough to make a cute little bun.
21. Zane is an imaginative, innovative child.  He also likes symmetry is his work.  These were his Uncle Nathan's Lincoln logs
22. I bought new measuring cups!!  You may not think this is worth remembering, but the ones I had I've had for 25 years, even more importantly, I threw the other ones away, sort of.  I relegated one to the canning tools.
23. Apples!!  Here is a sink full of the first picking of yellow summer apples off the first tree.  I made applesauce.
24. Spray planes are a common sight around here.  There is a corn field just north of us so they fly right over the house.
25. More pickles.
26. Forget-me-nots.  I love their blue color.  I got the package of seeds as a gift from some campaigner.
27. Jim's got his head in a tree, picking more apples.
28. Mom and Dad came so Mom could help me make applesauce, and get some for herself.  Dad requested an apple pie.  We made three.  We ate two and froze one.  I rolled out the dough for the top crust and without thinking made the cuts for the breathing holes.  It's the pattern my mom made, and her mom made and ...
29. Mom and I had tea and pie in the flower garden after a busy day.
30. Cinnamon pull apart bread.  Like I didn't do enough already this weekend.
31. On August 2nd, we took Zane to the Air and Space Museum.  We have been wanting to take him on a little trip just with Gramma and Papa.  I didn't seem to take any photos before or after the big day so I have some snapshots of the trip.
1.  We also took him to the Wildlife Safari. Pelicans are funny looking birds.
2. Zane loves to get his hands on things, to feel them and find out how they work.  The first thing he asked when he saw this missile, "Can I touch it?"
3. This missile lineup was for me.  I can't express my feelings very well when I see these weapons of destruction.  I tried on a different blog post here.
4. Zane got the string between these balls stuck in the wires of my egg separator.  My first reaction was to grab it and take it out.  I restrained myself, and let him figure it out.  He did.  He wound the string through the spiral and there it was!
5. I just love to watch these boys play with toys my own kids played with.
6. And Christian is just plain cute.  That is worth a photo any day.
7. Mom. Coming back again to do corn.  We couldn't do all we had to do without her.  She likes to read when she relaxed.  Like mother, like daughter.
8. This is the next day's result of the hail we had in the night.  It broke the squash vines, bruised the tomatoes, and the winds blew down the corn we were ready to put up.  That just made it harder to pick, it didn't hurt it.
9. One load of corn, 36 doz.
10. The night of the hail, we crowded three little cars in the garage.
11. Blue-goose pie.
12. Obviously putting up 132 pints of sweet corn wasn't enough work for my mom.  We did 5 buckets of apples the next day into sauce. 
13. I love glads.
14. My daughter is an amazing artist.  Or, have I said that already?
15. And MORE pickles. This might have been the day I went insane in the garden and pulled up all the cucumber vines but two.
16. I love squash sliced length wise, oiled, and sprinkled with seasoned salt and garlic powder, then broiled.  Yum.
17. Another storm rolling in.  More rain and hail, .55"
18. I got a new mixer.  The one I had wasn't working properly.  This is the fourth Oster kitchen center I've had.  I have all these attachment that I use, especially during canning season and to replace it, it will take four different appliances.  So, as long as I can keep finding them on eBay I will use them. 
19. We have been working most of the month gathering the things Lynette needs to go to college.  She was organized and efficient and all she had fit in the back of out PT (without the back seats).
20. Moving out day, and moving in day.  Lynette is also an awesome decorator.
21. The note on my white board.  Lynette: "See ya later 300 Northview Drive!" Me: "You'll be back--this is still home."
22. I like to see if I can peel an apple in one long strip.  Some times I can.
23. Beautiful apples.  It is so fun to reach up in among the branches of your very own tree and pick apples.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Apples to Apples

We have a bumper crop of apples this year.  Our yellow summer apples have been picked and processed and we are nearing the end of our production season with the later red apples.  The problem is we have had SO MANY apples.  
These apples are large, beautiful and delicious. 
And for some reason, Christian wants one every time he sees one.  He holds it and nibbles away until it is gone.  That's cute enough in itself, but there seriously is nothing so cute as this little guy with his toddling steps, light flying curls, and his irresistible smile. 
It's another one of those "my heart hurts" moments.  I wish these days could last and last.  
Since they can't, the photos must do.

On another note.  
In a recent visit, Barry took it in his head to sit on the back of the couch and look out the window.  Zane was up right after him.
Well, Christian didn't want to be left behind and with great effort he got himself up on the couch.  Then he began to try to climb up the back.  I'm not sure what he would have done had he got up there.  Likely fallen right down over the back.  It's been done before, just not by him yet.  He had to give up, but there he is looking out, too.

I'm not sure what they are seeing out there, but I liked this photo, too.  It's not much different, but two little brothers are looking at the big brother.  
This makes my heart hurt, too.  

They are mine, that's why.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Day With Zane

We've been waiting for this day.  
A day to take a grandchild on a special trip with Gramma and Papa.  
We chose this day a trip to the WildLife Safari and the Air and Space Museum.
It's a couple hours driving so Zane came prepared with coloring pages which lasted until we got out of town.  
His first, "Are we there yet", was not quite a hour on the journey.

Our first fill up stop netted Zane a new spiderman car to play with.  Sadly, it was lost later.  
I intended to start this trip paying attention to my photos for quality purposes.  You would think the thing in the way would be a car seat, not my finger.  I mean, a finger in the lens, after all these years!!

Our first wildlife was this herd of elk.  They are magnificent creatures.  It seems impossible that those bull elk can carry those enormous racks.  

This was Zane's favorite, turtles sunning themselves on logs in this algae covered pond.  He was convinced the water must be solid.  He called it "frozen" and had to throw a stick it to see.  I'm not sure he was totally convinced.  

Pelicans have a dark band of feathers that isn't visible in repose.  

The wetlands were populated with Canadian geese, sandhill cranes, and several duck varieties. I couldn't see any ducks, and I've seen too many Canadian geese, therefore no photos.

There is a little "petting zoo" and picnic area.  We were there at goat feeding time. The keeper feeds them on the rocks so visitors get the thrill of watching climbing goats.  She was letting some of the kids hand feed some and Zane thought that was a good idea until he actually had the grain in his hands.  

We finally got him to pat a goat, but all he wanted to do was thump on the side of this soon-to-be mama.  I hope the kids were already awake!

No trip with Zane would be complete without remembering his super-active personality.  This shows it well. 

Also, the day wouldn't be complete without a picture on the John Deere tractor. Zane made Papa's day by shrieking "a John Deere", as soon as he saw it. 

Zane hardly knows what these are for. 

I wanted photographs to remember this day by, and Zane wanted one with the antlers.  He wanted the biggest ones, but he couldn't be still long enough for a photo.  One thing done, and he's on to another. 

 It wasn't too hot that day, but eagles must like to be in the shade.  I'm not sure what kind this one is, but the Bald Eagles are almost hidden.  Look for the white heads. (second photoi)

This is Zane.  
I would have liked to get a lovely photograph of him full face with the bright smile he has in the second one.
But, really, this is Zane, too busy, too quick to sit still long enough to record that little memory.  What we get is the best we can get, action, and a memory in the heart. 

Some birds of prey are caged, these screech owls for example, they are all huddled up blinking sleepily.

American Black Bear, this may have usurped the turtles. 

We knew before we went that we would be seeing these scenes through the eyes of a five-year old.  Sometimes that means very quickly, as he runs through the exhibits and we trot after him.  
Even here, he reminds us of the simple joys of childhood running a hand across a fence to feel and hear that strange thumping sound it makes. 

Many wild flowers were marked.  These weren't

And what is a trip to any wildlife area without the buffalo, which are called bison nowadays, and perhaps always.  Who knows why they were every called buffalo anyway?

A barn owl peeking out.


Next stop: Air and Space Museum

At the base of a missile.

The first thing Zane saw in this building were the escalators. He would have been happy riding up and down the rest of the day.  

Except for one small break for the elevator.

It happened to be kid's day at the museum and I was afraid that would take Zane's attention away from the planes.  There were all sorts of games and things to play, but he didn't have enough patience to wait in the sometimes very long lines.  This was a bouncy house/space shuttle slide, and you can see by the photo, that he was moving quickly.

At last, something to get into and move!!

 We ended our day with ice cream.

Except...we missed the featured plane of the month.  So we went in.  It was rather a bust for Zane, since we could only peek at things, not go the length of the plane and touch everything in it.  It was a training plane for navigation.  Instead of seat, there were columns of desks with equipment mounted on them. 

Views from the museum.  It was mind-boggling to see the size of these missiles.

Surface-to-surface missile perhaps?

Sometime in there when we were walking around under the planes, looking at bombs, the size of the planes and an air raid shelter that it hit me, this is war.  These things are here for us to remember. 
To remember a time we don't ever want to see again.  
I can't describe the feeling that came over me.  
It was a feeling that I was touching a piece of history that was long gone, yet at any time might come too close.   
We need to visit these places; we need to take our children to them.  We need to remember those who have given so much for their country.
Even to the ultimate sacrifice.  
We need to remember what war means.  

There was peace in our car on the way home. 
The end of a big day that started with doughnuts and a new car and ended with ice cream and new planes.

A day that was in Zane's words, "Awesome!"