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Monday, September 29, 2014

A Picture-Taking Adventure

We had this great adventure a few weekends ago, and I thought I'd tell you about it.  It started out with a plan for lunch.  The restaurant was a bit of a drive, and after lunch, we decided to head further away from home rather than just home.  We didn't go far, mind you -- just off in a different direction than usual.

Here's the thing: other than lunch -- we spent no money.  Zero.  ZERO was also the amount of expectations we had for the day, and truly, that made the day so much more enjoyable.  We didn't know where we were headed, or what we'd see, or what we'd opt to do.  The rule wasn't necessarily "no spending," it just worked out that way.

I thought I'd share because, it's easy to feel trapped when you're on a budget -- but sometimes, that's the best part of the adventure.  This day ended up being a picture-taking adventure.  No destination.  No rules.  Just appreciating everything that came our way.

Our day looked something like this:

We started with lunch here...


Wake & Bacon - yum!


Playhouse Square District ~ Cleveland



Cleveland Firefighters Memorial


A 9/11 tribute.


A view from the Great Lakes Science Center lobby.

Outside the Science Center's back door.

The Steamship William G. Mather
Maritime Museum and lakefront attraction


The lobby of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

A wedding party hamming it up outside the R&R HOF.

What a beautiful day we enjoyed!


Friday, September 26, 2014

On Having Homebody-itis (A Slice of Life)

Wow, so... those of you who stop in here regularly may have thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth.  No worries.  I'm alive and well.

Since my last post I've been pretty busy.  I've been spending lots of hours in the church nursery for another year of babysitting for English classes, young mother's club, Biblestudies, and date nights.  It's such a JOY to spend time with these little ones!  I usually am caring for children birth through 2 years.  It is quite an amazing thing to strike up little friendships with them --while still maintaining a sense of authority over them (you know, all in the name of keeping a room full of babies happy and well-cared-for for a few hours!)


Though we have LOTS of fun, I find myself falling back on much of what I learned years ago while earning my degree in Family and Child Development.  It would be a shame not to use our time wisely with these little ones, so don't let them get away with any bad behavior.  We encourage "please" and "thank you," sharing, and all that other good stuff that the mommies would want us to encourage.  Granted, sharing is not something these little ones are good at yet, but we talk the talk so it all becomes a familiar thing to them.

Can I share a fun little scenario with you?  One of my best little buddies was recently babbling loudly and insistently at me about something that he wanted -- namely another snack cracker.  I fully knew that this is what he wanted, but encouraging him to channel his frustration, I said, "Use your words."  This little guy isn't super-verbal yet {at least not in a way that I can often understand}, so I knew this would be a challenge for him.  Never the less, I wanted to plant the idea in his head.  You know what he did?  With his little toddler hands, he SIGNED "more."  JUST THINK ABOUT THAT.  In his little not-even-two head, he made the connection between me saying "words," and the way he knew to express what he wanted -- through sign language.  Brilliant, right?

Some of the little ones that I care for don't even know English, or have it spoken to them at home.  In fact, they are with us so that their parents can attend English classes!  What a challenge it is to look into these precious faces, and attempt to comfort them in a language that is not their own!  It can be an emotional time, and I often leave feeling so helpless.  It's amazing, though, how God rewards our efforts, as our friendships with these little ones continues.


Usually by day three, I am thinking that I cannot take one more step in the direction of babies, but out I go again.  When I return home, I crash, knowing that Thursday and Friday are MINE ALL MINE.  Oh, please don't think I'm being too selfish -- they are only MINE for completing laundry that has been waiting for me, and grocery shopping that has yet to be done.  In between errands, I enjoy this home that we have been blessed with.  How good it is to just BE here.

By Saturday, I am already looking forward to spending time in the nursery on Sunday morning -- and my week starts all over again.

It's so hard to believe that I have already been babysitting for three weeks, and my daughter has a month of school completed!  The time has flown!!!  Mind you, none of this is a complaint -- I am simply incredulous over the passing of time!


It's always so good to get grounded again at home, and to be reminded of the simple pleasures that we enjoy here.  As I sit here at my computer, I enjoy the sun streaming through the kitchen window.  Looking out to the patio, I see a web glinting with dew as it swings between two chairs.  It's a reminder that the patio has gone long-unused as days have gotten cooler and schedules have gotten tighter.

Squirrels scamper back and forth on the patio burying things in my potted plants.  I'm always amazed when I find them later.  

The crickets sing wildly -- louder than any birds today.

The bunnies have been scarce.  They seem to have been replaced by a groundhog and a skunk.  Ummm, not my favorite.  Doesn't exactly make a girl want to get out and weed the garden or anything.

Inside the house, things are cozying up.  I've been burning Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candles, and am loving this fragrance from Bath & Body Works.  I might have to go stock up on some more, as these will never get me through the fall.

Today, I celebrate twenty-two years married to this guy.


While life hasn't always been easy, and we have dealt with our share of "stuff" -- I can't imagine sharing the load with anyone else!  I'm thankful every day for him.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a slice of life with me.  If you are a homebody like I am, I hope you get to enjoy your own little slice of home today!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Project Life Update ~ 9.15.14

Here's another handful of pages for you!  These are from spring/summer 2014, so we're catching up to real time!  In looking over these, I've decided that I must scrapbook according to my mood.  Some pages are all matchy-matchy, and others, well, not so much.  I'm okay with that.  I don't stress out about it.  Sometimes though, when the mood strikes me, I might change some cards around on a page, or switch out cards for something new I've gotten that "works better."  I love the flexibility to do that!


I'm so proud of our daughter's efforts at school last year.  She had a real struggle transitioning from homeschool to public school, but each year has been so much better than the last.  Her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds, and she has matured beyond her years.  She's amazing.







I wanted to make this page especially colorful and eye-catching.  This is something our son has been waiting to do for a long time, and he LOVED it!




Can't believe this guy on the right (below) is TWENTY.
How am I old enough to be his mom?
Young mamas are you listening?  DON'T BLINK!

I tell you a lot about my daughter... she reads my blog, so she "gets it."  My son, like his dad, enjoys his privacy and is not really into all my sappy blog-stuff -- but I'm going to brag on him a bit.  He's a working man at TWO jobs, and we couldn't be more proud of him.  He's a very hard worker, and has recently undergone a lot of changes in his work place.  He's held it together, hung in there, and risen to the challenges.  He knocks my socks off daily.  No lie.

I'm so proud to be his mom!

What's new in your scrapbook?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

At the Garden Center ~ Hydrangeas

Another garden center find: Hydrangeas.  We have lots of Hydrangeas around our yard.  We have lots of sun, and they seem to enjoy that.  People ask us what we do to get so many blooms, etc., and we say... ignore them.  Yep.  It's survival of the fittest around here.  No special treatment.  Alas, our Hydrangeas are "only" white, so I enjoyed these colorful beauties!  I hope you will too.







Tuesday, September 9, 2014

At the Garden Center ~ Sunflowers

We stopped in at a local garden center the other day.  We hadn't been there in  a long while, and things were definitely thinned out for the end of the summer season.  As we wound around the place looking at clearance items and castoffs, we were rewarded with this beautiful sight...

...a wide swath of sunflowers.


Each one was perfectly beautiful.  We caught them at just the right time!!  I was reminded of the fun that we had growing sunflowers when the kids were little.  Some of them reached past the gutters on our house -- which was BIG FUN for the kids!!



Have a sunny Tuesday!


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