Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Here we are - back to Monday again!

Friday night Dream Boy & I hung around the 'ol homestead & he grilled a pork loin on the grill!  Yummilicious!

Through the night the rain began and it didn't stop til midday. A steady, constant rain. We honestly don't need it. Seriously. I was going around the yard emptying flower pots as the water was standing in the tops of them because they are so saturated.

Saturday night Dream Boy & I headed east to the city of Battle Creek, actually no further away than Kalamazoo, but we headed that way for something different and ended up at a restaurant that we used to take the boys to when they were little. It's in an old train depot along the river.

We shared a bottle of wine & filled our bellies with pasta, as Dream Boy was riding in a local bike ride on Sunday.

After dinner, we ventured out along the trail along the river. The levels are so high!
Can you tell the water shouldn't be that high?

We wandered along some more & played with Lucy - hence the couple shot above. I hadn't brought my remote, so it was the mad dash to beat the timer game!
We ran into a bunch of geese who are apparently tired of the water too & are on higher ground trying to dry out!
Along the walk and surrounding the Kellogg House, this sea of hydrangeas was in full bloom!
We were also extremely moved & impressed by this sculpture done by an artist from Denver, depicting the role that 2 Battle Creek Natives played in the underground railroad. They were very instrumental in helping many slaves escape to the north.
Sunday morning was a beautiful & sunny one.  Dream Boy headed off to his ride with his buddy & I headed off to church.

Lucy was in my purse & we went for a little ride after church.
See the "tree line" on the left there?  Yea, that is the bank of this creek in downtown. 

Really - is there any way we can bottle this water and send it out west where they really, really need it?

I eventually found my way home and changed into my swimsuit & LtWD & I headed to the dock, where Dream Boy soon joined us. She played with her tube & the boys & I headed out in my kayak for a paddle around the lake.  It was a gorgeous day, and everyone was out enjoying it! The boats became more and more plentiful on the lake as I made my way around. I think I got back to the dock just in time - the boats were really out in full force by then.

So I am now into the 3rd week of 4 for my 1st session of summer school. It's been going fairly well, with the exception of technical difficulties one morning last week, but we made it up on Thursday without much complaint.

Today's forecast is calling for more rain and possible thunderstorms. 

Yay..........not.

Anyways, thank you for stopping by & catching up with me!  Have a great week!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

HellOOOOOO!!!

What an amazing weekend I had. So much fun packed in.

If you have followed along with me, you know I am a Lake Girl ~~ a water bug.

I love being on or near the water at any chance I can get.  Digging my feet into sandy beach is even better!

Friday my nieces & I headed to the shoreline of Lake Michigan, as we do every summer.  The Friday before, when we originally planned to go, it was rainy - so we postponed it for a week.  Usually my sisters join us, but because of the date change, it was just the 3 of us.

We switched it up this year and headed up to Holland State Park for the day, rather than our norm - South Haven.
We all have this water & sand bug in common.  Comes from my mama.  She loved the sun - not the water so much, but loved to be in the sun!

We spent about 3 - 3 1/2 hours on the beach & then headed into town for some shopping.  The girls have never explored the streets of Holland, so they were over the moon with the stores!  I knew they would be and we have made a pact to come back again together.

Saturday was an overcast, grey kinda day.  Dream Boy planted some flowers and such around the yard & we basically just hung out around the homestead. He did manage to find a bike rack to fit his car, on Craigslist, so he was a happy camper.  Our roof mount doesn't fit either of the cars we are driving now - so it was a much needed apparatus for him.

Sunday - Father's Day.  We started our morning in church, a much needed start to our week. Every week. I miss it if we miss church.

After church, we met S&D1 down at our local cafe for breakfast together. I miss S&D2 even more at times like this! 

We finished up breakfast and headed home to pack up for a day on the lake again with the kids!  S&D1 bought a used boat earlier this spring.  S1 took it out on the water when he bought it & it seemed to be a great deal. When he & Dream Boy launched it a few weeks later, they soon became aware of why it was a "great deal" - it began to fill with water in the engine area. There was a major leak, so they had to pull it.

Our hearts were breaking for them - they had so looked forward to the summer & spending time together on the boat. They rented a slip at a local lake as well. S1 took it into a marina to get an estimate on repairing it, but it was outrageous what they quoted him! So he & Dream Boy did some research, they're both mechanics after all, and found out some information which they used to try & repair the issue.

It worked!! The kids took their boat out for a test run on Saturday with their friends and were out for over 4 hours and it stayed dry. So we headed out Sunday afternoon, spending about 3 hours on the water.

This mama was SO happy to be on the water with my kids!
And this mama found a great place on the back of someone's boat to sun herself and her baby. 

But see that red on the baby's back? When I got home - I zoomed in on that and it appears that the baby has been "branded" with someone's pink/red glitter nail polish. I hope it wears off that poor baby's back.

Dream Boy & I dropped the kids off & went home to clean up & change. We then headed to the cemeteries to "visit" our own dad's. It's a hard pill to swallow when we go there, but we both know that we will be reunited with them in heaven one day, so it makes it easier. It doesn't mean I don't miss my dad like crazy - but it helps to take the edge off.

Days like this make me also miss S&D2 even more. I admire them for taking risks and moving so far away from their families to be able to pursue their careers, but I can't wait for them to some day move closer to home. As S1 said yesterday on the boat, "they need to move back home NOW! It was cool when he 1st moved out there, but now it's just stupid & they need to be back home!"

Yes - S1 spare no words and you always know where you stand with him and exactly how he feels. One of the things I love most about that boy of mine!

This guy - love him with all my heart & am reminded daily of all that he is to me and my family. He has been and continues to be such a great example to our kids and I am forever grateful to him for loving me.


Happy Monday everyone - and have a GREAT week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Life Is Good

Summer school has started this week and my classroom is full! We have 17 licenses for the program we use and everyone of them is being utilized! 

So far, they are a quiet bunch of kids, but we shall see as time passes. They generally start out this way, but as they get used to the program and being in class with me, they begin to come out of their shells.

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day. I was supposed to meet a couple friends for lunch, but one of them came down with strep throat, so we decided to wait until she's better before we meet.

Well, you know this girl! This girl is NOT going to let a sunny day go by without a trip to the lake/dock/water. 

With all the rain we've had as of late, it has been next to impossible to spend anytime in my new kayak. So today I did just that and LtWD was not happy with this mama! I can't kayak and leave her on the dock alone, who knows what she'd end up doing? Besides, I wanted to take Lucy out with me and explore the shoreline.

And that is what I did, after I tipped over on the shore trying to get into said kayak. Good thing MVP was there to help me tip her over & empty her out! Learning to get in and out of a kayak is an experience.  I even You Tubed it this week to see if there were any trade secrets. Yes, they all showed the same technique and I failed miserably the first time trying it.

So after I got the water emptied out, I managed to get in without incident and THEN I got Lucy off the dock before heading out to explore. Yes, I was smart enough to leave her on the dock before I tried my entry.

The water was a smooth as glass in the coves. And the sun was beating down and every turtle in the lake was taking advantage of it.
 See that nose poking up there in the water? 
 Two leatherbacks and a box turtle.
 This guy was one of two that did not clamber to get into the water because I was drifting by.
And this leatherback - look at his snout!  He's a big boy.

I remember when the boys were little and we were heading home from somewhere. There was a turtle trying to cross the road and S1 wanted to stop & save it. We stopped and picked it up, bringing it to our home just down the road. The boys were planning on walking it over to the creek on the next block & releasing it.

We were barely a 1/2 mile from home and the turtle was laying in the back of the van when this atrocious odor started to fill the van. We barely made it home without gagging and tossing our cookies - the smell was that bad! We realized it was the turtle, but weren't sure of the type we had picked up.

A week or so later, I was telling my aunt about our little adventure and she asked what the turtle looked like. I told her it was rather flat for a turtle and had fairly soft shell. She told the boys and I it was a leatherback and that when they are afraid, they emit an awful odor in their defense.

Needless to say, we never picked up a leatherback again!

I left the turtles alone and headed to the other side of the lake and back into the canal.

This Red Winged Black Bird was extremely vocal and was flying over head, apparently protecting a nest somewhere nearby.
When I came back a little later, he wasn't quite as vocal. He must have realized I meant no harm.

Going down the channel I rounded a corner and came upon this dock at one end of the channel~~
It just struck me - so vibrant against the lush green shore.

I continued on to the other end of the channel, finding a whole lot of lily pads that were blooming all around me.
I soon turned around and headed back out to open water, but stopping along the way to capture these two.
I told you every turtle in the lake was taking advantage of the sunshine!

I paddled around the other side of the lake, coming upon a lone swan who must have lost it's mate. I noticed it last week when I was out too, all by itself. It took off in front of me, but the water was pretty choppy & trying to steady one's self in a kayak in choppy water is a skill I have yet too master. I did try to take some shots, but just couldn't get any as I was bobbing around too much!
And this my friends, is the infamous dock! You've only seen it from when I'm standing on it. But now you can see where LtWD and I spend many a summer afternoon.

We get our workout on those stairs as well! Thanks to Dream Boy and our friend, the owner of the dock and the stairs and the house up above, they rebuilt and stabilized that stairwell this spring. It had gotten to a point that only one person should be on them at a time. I can't tell you how amazingly sturdy they are now & how much safer I feel going down to the water's edge.

So as summer moves along, I plan to work a little more on my kayak entry skills and my photography skills while in said kayak. It's a balancing act and it is definitely a skill to be able to shoot while rocking & bobbing along.

The thing I loved most about my excursion was the peace and the wildlife and the beauty that abounds around the water! It is so relaxing to me to be on the water in any way I can.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning!

What a soggy, wet, humid morning it is in this corner of the Mitten!  

Yuck.

It's been that way for dayzzzzzzz. With no sign of letting up soon.

Seriously cutting into my dock time with this girl.....
But, we did make it over there yesterday for about an hour.

Dream Boy was able to try out my new kayak and LtWD was able to try out the new steps her boyfriend built her to make it easier to get up onto the dock.  But we had to train her to use them because she kept trying to go around them and get up on the dock.

It was also her 9th birthday! So she got a swim, new steps and a new collar! 

Friday she came to school with me to help.
Best classroom helper. EVER!!

Yes - I go back to the building today as summer school starts.  I have a full house. 

Did I mention I had a dream about it Saturday night? Or should I say nightmare? The jury's still out on that, but lets just say I hope this dream doesn't come true.

Ugh.

The rest of our weekend was dodging rain showers and working inside on things like this ~~~
Pinned it!

Nailed it!

We did spend some time at the little sister's on Saturday to say good bye to this girl:
Yes, she's touching her FIRST American Toad.  Ha!  She is a German exchange student my sister & her family have hosted this past year and she is heading back to Germany tomorrow.  

Our family has loved having her become a part of ours - - - - - 
This is the cousin's at S&D2's recent wedding ~~~ minus 2 who had to work in Ohio & couldn't make it home.

The bee's also had a chance to get busy in the brief breaks of rain~~
My buttercups are in full bloom and oh so showy!

So my weekend was full, despite the weather! I finished a book and went to library and am on to my next summer read.

Just love this time of year - relaxed and easy and pretty much care free.

S&D2 made it home from their honeymoon yesterday, I've seen 2 pictures so far. One of the beach they were on and one of my grand dog - Maci - enjoying a nap in the sun on the patio and just plain happy to have her mama & daddy home again.

Well, I'd better get myself off to school.

Have a great week - and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Song-ography ~ ~ ~ ~

This song is dedicated to my mama
Who taught me how to put on my pajama’s
Always let me have a couple dollars
But told me that my dreams I better follow
I love my mama, I love my mama,
Ooooooo, I love my mama, I love my mama,

I love my mama, mama ~~~~~

LunchMoney Lewis

photo courtesy of Karen Toews Padgett

We aren't traditional in any sense. This boy of mine & I. We danced together at his high school dances because I was a chaperone & he didn't care. 

"Don't Cha" by Pussy Cat Dolls became "our song". 

So at his wedding, we didn't do the traditional Mother/Son dance. We did a Jimmy Fallon style Lip Sync.

I sang "Hourglass" by Mindy Gledhill.

He sang & danced & pranced to "Mama" by Lunch Money Lewis.

THEN we pulled out all the stops, inviting all the mom's & son's who were present to join us on the dance floor for the mother/son dance and the DJ blasted out "Don't Cha"!

Yeah, we're anything BUT traditional and that is one of the many things I love about this boy.

Now that summer is here, I'm hoping to get back into Kathy's Songography.  Music is a huge part of who I am and images fall right into place with it!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

What a great start to summer!

Technically I have today left of school - one last 1/2 day. 

Which may turn into a full day as I have final grades to enter and summer school to set up. But then I have the whole rest of the week off.

So I'm determined to fill my summer with lots of memories. And this weekend was a great way to kick that off!

Friday night was Art Hop & the yearly Art Fair in the park downtown. So Dream Boy & I headed out to explore. The streets and park were filled, so lots of people watching was done on our part!

Loved it.

We ended up a local restaurant and had a great dinner on the upper deck. It was such a beautiful evening.

Saturday was a day spent with D1, as S1 was up north at a bachelor's party. We had plans to go to the dock, but it was a little too cool & windy for her, so we sat in the backyard and soaked up the sun.

Then we went shopping. I've never had girls to shop with. But now I do.

Uh oh.

But then again, Dream Boy shops with her two. They love to grocery shop together. 

We all went out for a "girls night", yes Dream Boy was along, and we ended up at a local brew pub for dinner. We then drove down the street to my favorite Italian restaurant & sent Dream Boy in for dessert.

Tiramisu.

The best tiramisu ever.

He bought 2.

So we drove home to enjoy our dessert around a bonfire - D1's suggestion. She loves bonfires.

What a wonderful way to spend my Saturday. How blessed am I to have 2 wonderful girls in my life now?

Sunday was a gray, cloudy, rainy day. After church, we headed down to our favorite little breakfast nook before heading home. 

I spent the afternoon reading, finishing one book & starting a new one. Then a little nap was in order before Dream Boy & I headed out for grocery shopping. There's this little store close by that has the most amazing produce......and a beer/wine bar. It also has a coffee bar and an olive bar and we just love shopping there. We just don't go there often enough. 

S&D2 are now on their honeymoon. They returned to Seattle at the beginning of last week, but flew out on Friday to begin their honeymoon. They told us they were putting their phones on airplane mode for the week and we wouldn't hear from them. 

Good for them. 

Disconnect from the world & enjoy the full, complete company of each other. After all, it's what we did when we got married, right? Before had cell phones and internet. When you would make a long distance collect and give a "code" name to let your family know you arrived safely.

So here we are - the 1st of June and the whole summer is ahead of us!

What do you have planned?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

He Said Yes

Little boy, when you speak,
I can't help but kiss your cheeks!
I love the way you grab my hands,
tell me all about your plans.

Hourglass - Mindy Gledhill


The doors opened and there she stood, in her all her beauty. 

The girl he has dreamed of making his forever bride.

The years of waiting, the trials & tribulations of planning a wedding from afar, the joys of being with family.

He said yes.

She said yes.

It was a beautiful wedding. In spite of the rainy day, our hearts were filled with warmth & sunshine! You know it's good luck to have rain on your wedding day. 

Hence the reason Dream Boy & I have been married for almost 35 years. 

Yeah, that's it.

The night before the big day..........

 How did I get such a handsome boy???


A bride & her Oberon........ahem, I mean groom!
photo credit - somebody's phone



Sunset bride & groom.
photo courtesy of someone's phone


The escape!
iPhone

The happy couple has left this morning on their honeymoon.  After a week back in Seattle, they flew out today for a sunny beach. 

Jealous.

So this mama, who's heart is full to overflowing, can't wait till all my little birds are under one roof again. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summertime....And The Living Is Easy!!

Isn't that what summer is all about?

Time slows down, the days are longer and the times are simple. At least for me.

Summer vacation is here (forget that I have one more half day and summer school), but it's here for me. Time does slow down, mornings are more relaxed and dock days are just around the corner!
So how do I start my summer?

With a list a mile long, in my head at least, of projects and ideas.

And the ideas are running wild in my head with the thought, "what would I do with an extra $100"?  You know, money that has no purpose, no need, no bill attached, just an extra 100 bucks to do with as I want with no explanation needed.

Maybe a day in Shipshewana scouring the flea market. Or filling up the gas tank & driving to the shoreline, exploring beach towns and eating at little road side dives. 

How about a gallon or two of paint and a makeover to the room I call my studio? I was SO inspired last weekend at our "cottage" for the wedding that we rented. Ideas are just bouncing around in my brain to make my home feel more like a vacation every time I walk in.

Then I went to browse some summer fun stuff yesterday at the store. You know, tableware, glassware, patio decor, etc.

Yep - I could find a lot of things to spend a guilt free 100 smackers on.

Did you know that you could also get a "free" $100? There's this club, The Dollar Shave Club, where if you join for as low as $1 a month.....you can literally save at least $100 a year on their awesome blades!  They're delivered right to your door! 

So check 'em out & start turning the wheels of your mind with how you could play with your $100.

Summer's here - time for a trip to the dock with the Wonder Dog and a slow, easy life!