Friday, July 22, 2016

Just a July Post

July is just a good month, and we love summer a whole lot around here. The pool and beach have been amazing this week, especially with this heat wave hanging around. I use the term 'heat' loosely though, as our coastal heat doesn't compare with most other places. Our fans are humming and the windows are open, and we will sleep quite comfortably with just a light covering tonight.

The weeks of summer are going quickly, and it makes my heart sink just a little when I think of it. If only we could have summer longer.

Last Sunday I had an impromptu party for Jon's birthday, which meant that my birthday was the day after the party. This was perfect: People for him, and satisfaction for me! I've always loved the day after hosting a party or get-together, when there are traces of a good time had with friends with conversations and moments to be remembered.

My birthday was mostly a normal day, though I did enjoy my first experience with birthday wishes on Facebook. I woke early with Olivia because she had an early morning rehearsal to attend, enjoyed some devotional time, then had breakfast with the boys. I've already forgotten the rest of the morning, but I'm sure there was housework and errands (did I shop for VBS costume materials on that day?), then pickup from church, lunch with the kids, an orthodontist appointment with a certain boy who lost his retainer in Canada, drop off/pick up at guitar lessons for Olivia... and some enjoyment intermingled throughout. We all went out to an early dinner and a chocolate treat before Jon's meeting with the other elders at church.

Later, I decided to run 8 miles. Eight for my 38th.

I'm not sure what most women do on their birthdays, but this was very satisfying for me. Actually, the fact that I didn't mind my birthday was a first in a very long time, so maybe this is why it was so satisfying. I've lamented the fact of getting older since I was 10. Maybe that's odd, I don't know. This year I was simply content with what is, aging and all. I just felt thankful to be alive, thankful for the years I've walked this earth. It's a gift, really.

Maybe I am finally growing up a little.


Tonight we finished dinner at 6:27. We decided to work hard for 33 minutes (till 7:00), then head out for a walk in town. {Jon used his chain saw to cut some logs for the wood pile, Olivia folded laundry, Michael vacuumed, Andrew helped me in the kitchen with dinner clean-up, and Jack tidied up the yard and pool area.} I've always preferred to reward work with play. No, actually, it's more accurate to say that summer and years and life are passing quickly, and we need to make sure we get out and enjoy it... the work was just bonus.

On the way to Starbucks with their gift cards...

We still like to act like kids

My main squeeze

An outtake, because the two extra faces make me laugh...

Make the most of your days...


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Canadian Summers, Part 2

My children love visiting Grandma. They love her home... her beds, her yard, her basement, her breakfasts, her treats. They love the smell of her house, too (which is interesting because I also distinctly remember the smell of my grandparents' homes). Olivia loves that she always has a challenging puzzle set out for the family to work on, and they boys love that she has video games. They also love to spend time with their Auntie, who lives close by. 

My kids look forward to the arrival of their cousins, at which point the house becomes packed to capacity. I hope to do the same someday... to have all the family together.

I wish I had more pictures, but the truth is I sometimes feel uncomfortable sticking my lens in everyone's face. Some people can be uncomfortable with that, and I don't like to impose. Plus, many of the activities don't lend themselves well to photos. For instance, the kids have long enjoyed "mattress sliding" down the basement stairs!

Olivia's skateboard swing under the apple tree still serves the kids well.

A short hike with some of the boys...

Take me out into nature, and I will photograph it. Can't help it.

This chick-a-dee let me get up close without a zoom lens. He was maybe 18 inches away...

Queen Ann's Lace everywhere. I wanted to make a bouquet or a crown, or maybe a collar of "lace." I imagined all kinds of moody portraits of Olivia in the shadows of the forest.

Crab apple wars

Crab apple war pose

My boys packed a bag of crab apples in the car to take to their cousins' in upper state NY for our final night before flying home. The boarder/customs agent asked about this bag when he inspected the back of our car, and the boys simply replied, "They are for crab apple wars." The agent obviously understood boys, smiled, and made an exception to the rule.

Annual pictures...
(Compare HERE from the steps 3 years ago)

Thanks, Carol, for the fun summer memories!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Canadian Summers

First day home from our trip north and I have emotions of every kind. I'm not sure if it's a combination of being tired, of having an undesirable amount of work and admin to accomplish, PMS, and, well... it doesn't matter. The emotions are there and I'm doing my best not to let them overtake me! I've had to tell myself that emotions help me "taste" life, and to experience it in color and sound and motion. As often as I wish I didn't feel life as sharply and deeply as I frequently do, I'm nonetheless thankful for the artistry of God in giving me so much to experience by way of emotion. I can't imagine life otherwise.

People tell me I'm quiet, calm, composed. Ha. If you only knew what goes on inside!

Feelings. They can run deep. Time passes and a feeling seems long forgotten, then suddenly memories emerge and the feeling of it is fresh again. For better or for worse.

I culled through these pictures yesterday from somewhere high in the sky as we travelled back home. I couldn't help but remember fondly my own summer memories. The weeks spent at my grandfather's cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec have left clear and lasting memories in my mind and heart. Papa Jean's was the best place to be as a kid, and we would reunite there with all our cousins.

I have no doubt my kids will remember summer vacations spent roaming the Quebec countryside with their cousins. This makes me happy...

Canada Day was spent in my little hometown

We watched the parade where residents and families participate with pride. 
Simple, quaint, festive

I recalled a sense of loyal community which I have not experienced in larger towns and cities 

Such a special place to me.
And yet, somehow, I have loved learning to leave it. It has been good for me to learn leaving, as strange as that may sound.

Coming back, however, does something to me every time.

Boy cousins. Olivia is the lone girl still...

Simple pleasures


Baby dearest. Boy #7

So fun to watch my brother J.P. as a dad!

My brother, David, is always so sweet to make fun memories with the kids.

It has become tradition to fish with Uncle David at the river. He is so patient to do this with so many eager fishers!

Olivia's big catch

I have no doubt Michael would want me to mention those are borrowed giant Crocs! ;)

Lake swimming. Jack and Andrew surfaced only for air.

One above water, and one below. Both exploring and discovering.

Glorious summer hair

Life. It comes with lots of emotion. And feeling them are essential. 

Sometime, I think, learning to face the emotion in it's full strength might be right and needful.

Only then can we determine which emotions can be let go, shaken off, rejected for being misplaced. 

The pain that comes from honesty regarding certain emotions (and the history which brought them about)  is worthwhile when it results in learning to live above mere feelings. 

By the grace and help of God, I choose to walk by faith, not by feeling. 

(Pictures of the Rourke/Ontario side to follow soon...)