Friday, June 24, 2011

Seven Quick Takes- good things edition


The bluegrass station fills the van with music in the early morning, little kids still drowsy from being wakened too soon. Blue Moon of Kentucky starts playing and I am immediately taken back to Tennessee, (I know, it should take me back to KY!), to good friends with guitars, bonfires in the front yard, and Ben dancing the best jig you ever saw.


The Army Band has a summer concert series called Music Under the Stars. There is a grassy open area in front of a white gazebo where everyone plops down their blankets and lawn chairs, opens up their coolers full of food, and then enjoys the music floating on the cool sea breeze blowing in from the bay. Last night was so relaxing after a super busy day. I loved laying on the blanket with my kids all around me. Good memories in the making!


We travelled to Virginia Beach yesterday morning for a dentist appointment. Afterward, I listened to the traffic report on the radio only to discover that we were facing a 5 mile backup to get back through the bridge-tunnel. I quickly decided that we would eat lunch out and then try to make our way back. Oh. my. goodness! I stumbled upon a little Italian deli/pizzeria that was run by an Italian family (the hostess was their young teen daughter), the television in the corner was airing an Italian game show, the deli case was full of the freshest, yummiest looking ingredients, and we were the only ones in there that were not "regulars". It was one of the best pizzas I have ever had. No cheese. Only roasted zucchini, eggplant, red peppers and artichokes. It was delicious and I had a great time with the kids. I did not even take offense when Olivia sheepishly told me it was better than my pizza. It was.


The garden is overflowing its beds. The tomatoes are bursting out of the cages in every direction. The yellow flowers are being replaced with small, green fruits. The cucumbers are vining out into the yard, clinging to whatever they can. Lots of flowers, but I discovered one cucumber half-eaten with incriminating teeth marks left behind that leads me to believe that my fat squirrel has started feasting again. I find one or two zucchini each morning beneath the large dark green leaves. I found the first tiny okra on those plants this morning, but the beans have yet to show one blossom despite how big they have grown.


I have been thinking about my faith (or lack thereof) lately. I don't mean that I have lost my faith, only that I haven't been as active in my prayer life as I have in the past. I am just not sure what to pray for right now. I want to do God's will, but I feel clueless as to what that is. Discerning between His will and what I think is best for my family is challenging. Do I pray for wisdom? Guidance? or do I pray for specific things? I think this can be included in "good things", since I hope that it will lead to being more of who God wants me to be.


The elderly gentleman who tuned and fixed the piano won his way into my heart almost immediately. He had the greatest mustache, which was gray and full under the lip, and then twisted into pointy ends that stood away from his face. He had a black bag full of old parts for my old piano (which he guessed to be manufactured somewhere between 1911 and 1915). We had lost several of the ivories, the real kind not the plastic variety. He and I picked through all the ones he had salvaged from other pianos to try and match the color and thickness as best we could. He ended up taking those keys with him over the weekend to get the glue to set, which I appeciated. He wasn't much for chit-chat, but after he finished the tuning, he played so beautifully that I closed my eyes and it seemed as though a full grand piano was in my living room.


It is so good to have this day with nothing on the schedule. I can sit down and write a post, catch up on the mountain of laundry that is spilling forth from the baskets, maybe even sew a little bit on my dress at naptime. Or maybe I will just pour a tall glass of iced tea and sit in the shade while the kids play in the yard!

A special thanks to Hallie for guest-hosting this weeks quick takes!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Days

Summer. Isn't it supposed to be "lazy" and slow?

So far, it has been anything but.

Sophie is lifeguarding at the pool on post.

Olivia is job hunting and helping with the little ones.

I actually have eight piano students!

Here's some pictures of our "down time":

I love my kids imaginative play.

Here we have Prince Philip rescuing Dora from her dollhouse in the bucket of Jack's firetruck.

Strawberry Jam

Olivia is now sweet 16!
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes were a huge hit!

The backyard kiddie pool has been a frequent fun spot.

See what I mean?

Relaxing in the pool!

While the kids are splashing, the mom sits in the shade with coffee and knitting needles!

I got a free basket for my bicycle at a yard sale. I love it!
The grocery store is exactly one mile from our house.

Now I can ride there for that something that ran out.

She really likes brushing her teeth!

One picture just wasn't enough!

My sister and her family joined us at Busch Gardens last weekend.

They are waiting for the fun to begin.

The engineer on the train gave Jack his hat after he lifted him into the engine and showed him how he drives the train!

She is too agile! She is climbing on everything. I spend a lot of time removing her from dangerous situations.

And that, my friends, is all I have for now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Say a Little Prayer...

...for me, please.

Tomorrow morning, at 9 am, the piano tuner is coming. You see, the last time our piano was repaired was the hardest day of my life. I thought Ben was upstairs taking a nap when in fact my boy had died in his sleep.

I am having a hard week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Robin's Return

***I am sad to tell you that we had a terrible storm last night and the mama abandoned the nest. I checked on the babies and they have died.***6/11/11

Do you remember the robin that made it's nest in my shrubs? Oh, my heart broke for her the day I found the fragile blue egg on the ground, broken and lost. I cried for the lost baby bird, I cried for the mama that lost her baby. I cried for Gus, our baby that we lost at 16 weeks. Miscarriage was devastating for me.
But two weeks ago, she returned. The mama came back to her nest and tried again. This time, there were not one, but two tiny eggs. We were both surprised, that bird and me. I would check on that empy nest every so often, just hoping that I would see this....

She flew right at me, for I had no idea I had intruded! She had been gone for so long, I figured that nest was abandoned for good. I suppose it is silly how much joy those little blue eggs brought me. I dared not write about it, though, until I knew that there would be a happy ending this time. Just like how I kept quiet about my next pregnancy after losing Gus.

Yesterday afternoon, a friend was over to visit with her young daughter. I thought they would like to see the eggs. I squealed with delight as I peered into the nest to see those tiny yellow beaks searching for their mama's return with nourishment! A happy ending indeed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yarn Along


I get to join in the Yarn Along over at Ginny's this week.

The tiny sweater is part of a birthday gift for my niece.

(Suzy, if you are reading this, don't let Maddie see it!)

It is for her Bitty Baby that I gave her on her first birthday.

The yarn is fuzzy and soft and I only had a tiny amount, so it had to be a small project.

The pink yarn is the beginning of yet another diaper cover for Therese, who happened to turn 9 months old this very day. How did that happen? She is growing so fast that it seems like I am constantly knitting larger covers. She is also advancing way too quickly. For instance:

-she can stand unassisted for at least 30 seconds.

-she figured out how to climb up the first step of our stairs.

-she can crawl extremely fast (and thus get to things she oughtn't before her mother can stop her).

The book: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

I am enjoying this book like you would enjoy a rich dessert. Little bites at a time and stopping to savor each morsel. Mr. Bradbury's writing is delightful.

Head on over to Ginny's to see more great knits and reads.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Say What?

Anna approached me the other day with the following question:

"Mom, what's the 'A' word"?

Stunned, and at a loss for an explanation, (and thinking I might need to have a talk with other members of this household), I coolly replied:

"What 'A' word"?

"You know. The one we weren't allowed to say during Lent."

me: " Ohhhhhhh! Alleluia."

Alleluia indeed!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rainy Day Remembrance

She looked out the window at the skies, which promised rain in the darkening gray. The air had a cool crispness, yet also hinted of the rain on the horizon. Stepping outside, she breathed it all in. The garden chores would have to be done quickly, or she would be caught in the storm that crept ever quicker towards her. The tomatoes were needing to be suckered, for they were bursting from their round, metal cages every which way. One plant though, was not thriving like the others. It needed a closer look. Tenderly, she mounded more dirt around the base of the plant and mulched it with last winter's fallen leaves.

Back inside, the coffee perculating its steady blurps, she stood at the door and watched the storm. The first gust of wind swirled tree branches and sent the birds fleeing to safer perches. A low rumble in the distance and the call of the mourning doves bringing it closer yet. Leaving her post at the door, she poured the coffee, and returned to the door. A flash. A drop, then another. She loved these quiet mornings, so rare now that the house was full of children. It took her back to her own childhood. A quiet morning on her grandmother's porch. Sitting with Papa on the swing, chains rattling, the wood creaking under their weight, and the smell of his pipe. Papa telling her to be still and listen to the rain that was on its way. And they sat side by side, and waited.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

She reminds me of someone

This morning, I went out back through our new screen door. (It bangs and creaks just like it a screen door ought to)....

to take some pictures of the garden, where I got distracted by a cuter subject....

and as I looked at her through the viewfinder.....

I thought, "Why, she reminds me of someone. A picture I've seen before"....

I know we are not twins, yet there is something there, don't you think?

(that's me, around 6 months old.)