Cousins

This weekend, we were busy in NEPA.

Lil cousins on Saturday.

Big cousins on Sunday.

A birthday celebrated.

Fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My weight remains steady.

I have gotten to bed early once this week.

I’ve danced with hubs once.

I have made my bed every day.

I have also gotten passport apps in the mail, continued on with my oatmeal, hosted a party for family, dealt with a car problem, taught a class, connected with my Creator, and taken a bunch of photos.

Here’s one!

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How is your week progressing?  What has been your favorite summer activity, so far?

 

Back at the Office

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I’ve been gone from this blog for a week, and what a week it was.

While I was away our family celebrated! Boy, did we celebrate!!!

A birthday was remembered.

A family reunion was held.

A Galentine’s Day party was hosted.

Some wee ones were hugged.

Some travel was embarked upon.

Some coffee was drank.

Some books were perused.

Some encouraging took place.

One attic and one basement were emptied.

(2) 20 Ft dumpsters were filled.

A mountain of metal was recycled.

Another mountain of old furniture was picked through.

Some taken. Some left behind.

A donkey nibbled on small fingers while being pet.

Two horses found new homes.

(1) wee one rode a big horse all by himself and loved it!!

(1) wanted nothing to do with that gigantic animal (me, either, J!).

Pictures were taken.

Videos were recorded.

“Farmland” was visited.

Ice cream was eaten.

We all laughed, sweated, worked, and loved on each other!

The garden is huge.

The veggies are plentiful.

The skies are big.

We have no room to complain, so we don’t.

We count ourselves blessed and we express gratitude for all we’ve been given.

It’s a good day to be alive!

Name three things you did last week that made you grateful.  What has your favorite summertime event been, so far?

 

 

Over-the-Moon with Joy!

Today kicks off the holiday weekend and a series of festivities on the hill.  This week’s weather has been incredible in NEPA. Now, if it just stays that way through tomorrow evening I will be happy.  Make that more than happy. Make that giddy, thrilled…over-the-moon with joy happy!  I want so badly for us all to have a good time together and when the venue is outdoors, that means good weather is a necessity.

This morning we began our weekend of family fun with a Galentine’s Day Ladies-Only Breakfast, the first where I played hostess for the event.  It went really well!

Woohoo, I love it when a plan comes together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a picture of the lovely ladies that shared breakfast with me this morning:

DSC_0708Aren’t they gorgeous?!  These are the fems in my fam, and I love them all.

We did have a few Y chromosomes in the crowd this morning. Pa had to work during our breakfast hour, so the wee boys were forced to join our group. They were well behaved for wee boys, and I think they enjoyed the Galentine’s theme as much as the gals did, especially the edible heart-shaped candies I distributed around the table top—you know, those kind you get on paper and you have to peel them off with water to put on your cakes at birthday time.  The boys enjoyed gobbling them up, as did a few of the ladies.

Here’s another pic, this time with me in the mix. I’m half way down the table on the right hand side.  I think I need a new hair style.  This one looks out of sync with my personality these days, plus it is hard to maintain.  I might go shorter. What do you think?

000at the tableI left the house early this morning so that I could decorate before any of the lovelies arrived, but wouldn’t you know it, a few came early.  I’m never early, so I rarely expect that of others!  It all looked so nice when I was done, but keeping it real, I want to share some misgivings I had before I went to this event.

On the drive down the hill to the venue, I kept thinking, “I should have done this.  Why didn’t I do that? What I’ve done is not enough!” I’m the queen of second-guessing!  I went so far as to stop at the Dollar Store to pick up some trinkets on the way, but as I was filling my arms with junky junk, I said, “Stop!” I put the things I had in my arms back and left the store.  I was frustrated with myself. That’s when I decided I needed to check in with my Friend in the Sky.

I pulled into a secluded spot in the parking lot and took a minute.  It was right, good, and appropriate for me to do so.  So many times we women think we are not enough. We have to do more, be more, perform for the world.  I hate that!  My Friend does too!  We do not have to do that. We are enough.  Our love is enough.  That we eeked out some time in our lives to celebrate with our loves is enough.  Finally, I was satisfied, and guess what:  I went, I saw, and it was—ENOUGH!

One other thing:  In preparation for this Galentine’s event I created little prompts to share with the ladies; questions written on little pieces of paper.  I asked each lady to take one.  I wanted us to make an effort to know each other better.  We live miles apart and life is ever-changing, so I thought it would be neat to create a way for us to connect on a deeper level at this breakfast.  These questions did the trick.  They got people sharing-personal stuff, deeper level stuff, encouraging stuff, and relatable stuff!  Yay!

Ironically, my piece of paper said this:  What is your recipe for continued joy and happiness?

What?!  Can you believe that?  We didn’t have time to get to my question, and I’m kinda glad we didn’t because you know I struggle to find joy in my life, and holding on to it—forgetaboutit!  Getting that question this morning from the grab bag, though, it helped me see that my greatest joy is experienced in those moments when I invest myself in other people, particularly those people I love and with whom I share a history.  These were MY peeps, and these were MY JOY!

I think that Joy-Loan I went looking for earlier this week may have been delivered to my door step without me knowing.  I’ll letcha know when I come back next week and report on our Saturday Family Shindig on the Hill.  Until then, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!!  😀

What will you be doing on the fourth of July?  When have you been to an event that really hit-the-spot for you?  Why was it so right?

 

 

I need a Joy Loan!

000great-joy-quotes-7Recently, I was introduced to Marie Kondo’s method for bringing joy into life by sending “stuff” out the door.  Kondo suggests that when you clean and de-clutter, you ask yourself this simple question with every item you touch: Does this bring me joy?  If whatever you are holding in your hand when you ask the question does not bring you joy, you throw it to the side and begin creating a pile of “stuff” that can be donated to Good Will or The Salvation Army, or some other worthy organization after your purge.

I tried Marie Kondo’s method recently, and I have to say this gal is onto something!  Following Kondo’s suggestion, I filled two plastic bags with gently used items, including one never-been-worn-red-killer sweater. Once I was done sorting my clothes, I quickly sent them to the Salvation Army for recycling.

It felt good to get all that stuff out of my dresser and closet, and into someone else’s hands.

It brought me JOY!

This coming weekend I’m hosting an event that is making me anxious.  I’m always anxious to one degree or another whenever I’m in any way asked to play the hostess, but this is an all-family event that depends on the weather for success, along with the mingling of several families, the planning of some entertainment for the kiddos, and coordinating food dishes and grilling options for the chow.

This shindig has many moving parts, so my anxiety levels are rising with each passing day.

Usually my habit for dealing with stress brought on by this kinda project would be to micro-manage the heck out of it, pulling other “willing participants” into the crazy, self-imposed vortex of darkness and gloom that would eventually brighten and become our family picnic.  Sounds like fun right? Something you’d want to get involved in, right?

Wrong! 

In fact, hubs has been threatening for weeks now to leave early on picnic day and go fishing until after everyone has gone home. No chance of that. I intend to hide his truck keys the night before so he can’t slip away unnoticed.  I might also have to hide all of his shoes. Then again, Huck Finn went fishing without shoes, so maybe I need to re-think that part of the plan.

Anyway, this morning the question of whether or not this event and the way I was going about it brought me joy popped into my head.  The quick and definite answer was, no. Emphatically, No!  Something needs to change for me to get from hesitant (my current state of being surrounding this event), to joy.

As of this posting I have not figured out what that “something” might be, but I think I’m on the right path.  Maybe you have an idea??  If so, please say so in the comments below.

Right now, I’m looking for a JOY-loan. Can you help me out?

What makes your family events and all the details that go into organizing them joyful?  Are you ever hesitant when it comes to hosting events at your house?

Three Goals and Easter Planning

TGT mast headIt’s the Thursday before Easter as I’m logging in today.  My three goals from last week need to be reported on, and I need to add three more goals to my list of habit building behaviors.  If you’re new to my blog, you might not know that I set three teeny, tiny goals for myself each week, and then I work through the week to perform them.  Here’s why I do it!

And here are last week’s goals:

1  Continue on with eating and exercise goals as previously stated.

2  At the end of each work day spend some quality time with Mr, asking him once again the conversation starting question: What concerns you today?

3  Get my blood labs done.

HOW’D I DO?

Goal No. 1  Good!  I ate oatmeal for five days out of seven this week.  I could have done better, but one day I was emotionally eating to sooth myself (just being honest here), and today I forgot my oatmeal.  I could have sworn that I still had oatmeal in the frig at work waiting for me, but no. I was wrong.  Dang, I hate when that happens!

Goal No. 2  Not so good!  I did this twice this week, and forgot it was even a goal the rest of the week.  In my defense, this has been a horrible week for me.  A dentist appointment and a speedy ticket.  Ugh!!! Not good and now I’m paranoid about driving.  I was not going fast and I was not being reckless, but I got a ticket anyway.  And get this; the officer who ticketed me made a big deal out of having his supervisor riding with him that morning.  What?  What is that about.  I’m still in a funk about it, but I’m pleading not guilty to the charge and will have my day in traffic court. I’ll letcha know how it goes.  Again, Ugh!  I guess I was more concerned with what concerned me this week, than the Mr. Poor Guy!

Goal No. 3  NOPE!  Did not do it!  Argghhh!  I think I need a vacation about now, or someone with a cattle prod to stick me in the back side to get me moving on this.  See Goal No. 2 for my excuse, or just say a prayer for me.  This one is going back on my list again this week!!!  I am determined to get this done soon.

THIS WEEK’S GOALS

1  Exercise for 15 minutes every day this week, and eat my oatmeal every day.

2  Get blood labs done!

3  Do an inventory of my pantry this week and throw out anything that is expired or not regularly used by our family.

EASTER!!!!

As for Easter, I’m in full-on planning mode.  I have a protein picked out for Easter lunch, and I have supplies laid up to make some tasty sides.  We will be going veggie heavy, as with all meals at the house on the hill in NEPA, this year.  We have also gone candy-light on all Easter baskets, and still have some wee one sunglasses and hats to purchase.  Other than that, we will be running, jumping, laughing, tickling, loving, reading books, and doing “projects” together over the next few days.  Oh, and gaming with board games. We love that!

We “might” go shopping for one of those battery operated jeeps that the kids ride in and drive themselves.  Maybe. I want to. We’ll see…

I hope you all have a happy and joyous Easter celebration, and if you don’t celebrate Easter, make this weekend a time to get together with those you love and tell them how much they mean to you.

Give love!  Speak Life! Live with Hope!  Plant Peace!!!!

My Top Five Favorite Sights at the Zoo

Friday night we hurried out of town on our way to Rochacha.  We were on a mission to get to the big city before two sleepy boys headed up to bed.  We made it in time. Yay!  Their parents hadn’t told them we were coming, so it was a big surprise when we walked in the door.

Hugs all around!

Saturday we headed out to the Seneca Park Zoo.

000spzooThe boys had been before, but we never had.  The weather was beautiful that day, sunshiny with a breeze, but not at all cold.

It was perfect weather for a zoo visit!

The only problem was, when we left the house we weren’t planning on going to the zoo, so we had no sunscreen with us,and only three of us had hoodies.  We needed a hat, so our first stop was to the Gift Shop to get goop and a head covering.  That done, we set off to see the zoo.

I was impressed by how much the wee ones knew about the place.  Apparently, they’d been there a time or two, who knew? We decided to let them be our tour guides.  It was an amazing time.

I saw lots of things that impressed me at the Seneca Park Zoo, but the most impressive was something I heard: The lion’s roar!!!!

I once saw a documentary, where they explained the lion’s roar; how loud he is, and how far the sound of his roar travels. Did you know a male lion’s roar can be heard by another lion for a distance of FIVE miles?  It’s true, and I will tell you what, as we stood at one end of the zoo and heard this powerful creature roar, it was like it was happening right next to us.  It was loud!  Very loud, and the most impressive thing I heard that day.

I wish we could have seen the lion when he roared. I bet it was spectacular.

000lionMY TOP FIVE FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE ZOO

No. 1 The Lion’s roar!

No. 2 The Wolves!  The were amazing, and way more active than I expected.  Their feet were huge and thickly padded. The sad thing about the wolves is that they really, really, really seemed to want to run.  M said their captivity was akin to us being locked in our shower stall for the rest of our lives.  I would not like that.  I don’t imagine they like being captives either, but it was sure awesome to see how powerful and impressive they are.

No. 3  The African Poisonous Frogs.  I don’t know if I have that name right, or not. These guys didn’t look all that terrifying, but they were vibrantly colored.  Impressive!

000purple frogNo. 4  The Tigers.  Again, powerful beasts with huge paws. When I commented on the fact that I was hesitant about standing too close to the tiger enclosure, my son told me that twice he has seen the male cat spray visitors to the zoo who stood too close for his comfort. Eeewww, can you imagine having that all over you for the rest of the afternoon?  No way. I am glad I stood a good ways back from the tigers!

No. 5  The Canteen.  I won’t lie, I was happy to see the canteen at the end of the zoo grounds. I had not eaten breakfast that morning, and it was going on 2:30 when we came upon this food stand.  I was feeling pretty peaked by that time.  I was HUNGRY!!!  I thought we were going to have to walk to the other end of the park to grab a snack, but nope. Yay!  One of the wee ones had been talking about a popsicle for a long time by the time we got to that end of the park. He was famished, too, but we made him drink some milk and eat a lil fruit salad before he had his ice cream.  Plus, we all shared a Rochester red, with mustard. It was sooo good!

We had a wonderful time at the Seneca Park Zoo, and spent some time together chilling out on Sunday, before heading back to NEPA.  If you’re planning on being in the Rochester area this summer, I would recommend SPZ to you.  Prices vary all the time, but the day we went adult tickets were $10 per person.  Not to shabby!

What did you do this last weekend?  What is your favorite thing at the zoo?

 

 

To Remember Me By

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Here we are: Mr and me in all our blurry glory!

Sorry about the blur, the lighting in my bedroom is not that great, so my camera struggled to get this right.

My love and I had our pictures taken for a directory sponsored by our church.  We had not done this sort of things in years, and we decided to have fun with it.  It shows through in the images they captured, I think.

I usually take a horrible picture, but these turned out pretty nice.  Wearing lip gloss was a good idea.  It somehow made me sparkle, which adds to the illusion of beauty in the final product.  Okay, maybe not beauty, but a certain hint of youth that maybe might not be there otherwise.

Mr always takes an incredible picture. The camera lens loves this guy!!!  No kidding.

This shot shows the framing a little better…

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I love the note as to when our “company” was established. We haven’t started a union in our company as of yet, never needed one.  We settle all disputes among us with single sticks.

It’s amazing what a good whack on the head can do to change one’s mood!

When was the last time you had professional pictures taken of you and your love?  Did you like the end results?