Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day in Small Town USA

Our little town is so small it hardly qualifies as a town, but three parades are held every year and we can walk to the end of our street to watch them. We have them on Memorial Day, 4th of July and for the high school's homecoming. Jonathan loves the parades!He loves to collect the candy they throw from the various vehicles in the parade. He's ready with his bag, and he sees the first sign of the parade arriving.

There is something about a community parade that I love, too, everyone coming together to celebrate. I love the sound of a high school band:

And here are some of the community's veterans:

Here is my boy getting some candy and shiny necklaces:

After the parade we went to a neighbor's house for a lunch time cook-out of burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon and other culinary delights to officially kick off the arrival of summer!

I love my small town in the heart of America!

Jonathan's 3rd Birthday 2009

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In less than three weeks, my "baby" will be turning five. Since I wasn't blogging then, I've decided to show some of his past parties. He was very into dinosaurs at three and we had a small dinosaur themed party for just a few guests. Here's a Smilebox of the highlights. I look at this and can't believe how much older he looks now! You can click on each picture in the Smilebox to enlarge it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shopping for Flowers

We are really late planting flowers this year, between a busy spring and record rainfall. Yesterday afternoon we took a time out from cleaning to go flower shopping. First stop was Home Depot, where Jonathan still loves riding in their carts!

We bought wave petunias, vinca vine and million bells petunias there, along with a few other things. I love home improvement and hardware stores, but they make me want to do home improvement projects I can't do by myself and can't afford to pay someone to do for me! I especially love all the landscaping products. I'd love to have a manicured lawn full of lush flowers and lovely little "outdoor rooms", like you see in the magazines. Not likely anytime soon!

Next stop was a local florist and greenhouse, Jackson's Florist. They had some baby chickens out front (I have no idea why!) and I had a hard time getting Jonathan away from them! They were fun to watch. They were bigger than chicks but not quite full grown. We purchased a lovely hanging basket there. Now let's see if I can keep it that way all summer. A green thumb is not one of my strong suits.

We came home and planted everything while the ground was still damp from the rain, much easier to dig. I still have a few more things to buy. We have already planted some flowers, as well as a couple of tomato, cucumber and strawberry plants. Zinnias and 4 o'clocks were planted from seed and are coming up.

We both enjoyed spending a couple of hours admiring the flowers and choosing a few to bring home!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Could Never Have Imagined...

Time takes you places you never thought you'd go. I grew up in the hills and hollows of Eastern Kentucky, in an area called "poor" by many, including much of the media. I certainly never felt poor, I had everything I needed, most of all love from gentle and hard-working parents and a host of sisters and brothers. (I am the youngest in a family of ten children).

Still, growing up, I imagined I would spend my life close to home. I expected to marry and have several children, seeing them play in the same places I played and attend the same schools I did.

Life takes a lot of twists and turns, doesn't it?

I was married fourteen months when my first son arrived. I was young and healthy with no problems conceiving. I could never have imagined enduring years and years of infertilty and miscarriages, attempting to give my son a brother or a sister, then finally giving up at age 38, after a devastating miscarriage 12 weeks into a pregnancy that had us full of hope.

I could never have imagined leaving the area where my roots ran deep, where generations of my family had lived and worked the land, earning the respect and affection of the community. My husband was a coal miner, like his father before him, the father who was lost in a mining accident while his mother was pregnant. The coal industry took a downturn in the 80's, and like many today, we found ourselves jobless. I could never have imagined moving my little family to the fringes of a metropolis. But move we did, 25 years ago, and made this area our home.

Growing up, I didn't travel very much. It was about an hour's drive to the nearest little town, "going to town" was an event in itself. Travel by plane was all but unheard of in my era and area, the nearest commercial airport was hours away. After marriage, we did take a few vacations, but I could never have imagined travelling to Europe and touring several countries. What an amazing trip we had for our 25th anniversary! We took our son with us for one last family vacation before he truly began his own life, and we made so many memories.

When my oldest son was a little boy, I couldn't imagine him all grown up, meeting and marrying a girl who would become like a daughter to me. Most of all, I couldn't imagine being a grandmother! Nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for that surge of love you feel when you look at the child of your child for the first time. It is the most amazing feeling in the world! You are looking at the future of your family and you would move mountains for them.

Life brings its share of heartbreak, too. You will be tested and you will be hurt. You will find out what you are made of. Sometimes your pain is obvious to others; sometimes it is something too personal or painful to talk about. I could never have imagined the loss I've had in my life, and I am glad I couldn't. I have said goodbye to all of my brothers, all of whom died suddenly and way too young. At 26, I held my mother's hand as she died. My dad lived to be 95, losing him was difficult, and I have often thought of all the ones he lost in his life. I have buried a husband just a few months after giving birth, again, he was way too young. I had imagined growing old with him, I could never have imagined facing the second half of my life alone.

Sometimes we have some say-so in what happens in our life, sometimes we don't. Of all the things I have done, all the places I have been, all that has happened, all that I imagined might happen, I could NEVER have imagined finding myself pregnant at age 49! I could never have imagined giving birth to my second child just a few weeks after my 50th birthday, 32 years and 10 months to the day after my first child, another healthy, intelligent, perfect little boy, so unexpected and such a blessing. He has certainly been my biggest surprise to date!

How have you imagined your life, so far? Has it been anything close to what you thought it would be? What do you do when life throws you a curve?

If I have learned anything in my 55 years, it is this: embrace the things you couldn't imagine. Grab the joy of the unexpected twists and turns. Work your way through the pain and disappointments as gracefully as you can, for they will come. Give thanks for what you are given and for the ones you love and who love you. That, in my opinion, is living life fully.

Pictures, top to bottom:

Me at about age 1

With my son Matt,age 2

In London, England with my husband David

The moment I first looked at my granddaughter, Eva, in her hospital bassinet

The first time I held Jonathan, in the delivery room

Friday, May 20, 2011

Goodbye Preschool.....Hello Kindergarten!

I felt many mixed emotions this week as Jonathan completed his last few days of preschool. He had a great two years at a wonderful preschool, and it is sad to see that come to an end. Kindergarten, here we come! It's been well over 30 years since I've had a child in kindergarten, wow! I hope it will be as fun and exciting as preschool has been, for both of us!
Here is Jonathan with a friend and his Monday Thematic Learning class teacher, Mrs. Brenda. She was his 3 year old teacher, too, and she is so great with the kids!Here he is with his Tues-Thurs teacher, Mrs. McDaniel. She, too, has been a wonderful teacher and has Jonathan well prepared for kindergarten.Here is a picture taken during the program they presented to the parents yesterday. It was too cute!! Jonathan is waving to me, I could see him searching the crowd until he spotted me. Hard to keep from crying as these sweet children sang a few songs for us. Such innocence!

Back in his classroom after the program, he received his diploma from Mrs. McDaniel. That makes him officially a kindergartener!

My wish for Jonathan, and all the children, is that they continue to grow and learn, and that they will have the guidance they need from wonderful teachers who care and parents who love them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jonathan's Geyser

We are planning a fun science party for Jonathan's 5th birthday next month. We were practicing all of the experiments, which includes the infamous Diet Coke & Mentos geyser. He ran with the string instead of pulling it, which is why we are practicing!
More fun party details to be revealed soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Planting Socks: Update

Remember when we planted socks, back in March? Here is what the planter looks like today. There is definitely some grass in there, not surprising since I had the lawn overseeded last fall. We have no idea what the other plants are. We don't know if they will bloom or if they are weeds.

We've had fun with this experiment, and we may repeat it next year. I think I would wait until just a little later in the season and I think I would dampen the bottom of the socks. I'm thinking it would make it easier for seeds to adhere to the socks if they were damp. That's what experiments are for, to see what works and what doesn't!

Stay tuned for the next installment of the planted socks saga! Will they bloom, or won't they?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where I've Been...

I have been very busy these past few weeks. How do you moms with several children keep up with everything?? Thursday at preschool, summer birthdays were celebrated: Last week was Outdoor Fun Day at school. Jonathan's teacher tie-dyed all of the kids' shirts so she could keep up with her class in a sea of children in matching t-shirts, which I thought was a great idea.

T-ball has started. Practice one day a week, game one day a week. My son has found a new love.

Soccer is in full swing, too. Again, practice one day a week and a game once a week. Only two more games to go!

Swimming lessons have begun! Once a week for three more weeks, then twice a week for five weeks.

Shew!! All of this and attempting to keep up with my eBay and antique business---oh, and housework and cooking---doesn't leave much "me" time to keep up the blog! I'd like to say it will get better, but I anticipate a busy summer!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Day With My Grandchildren

Those three little children in the picture? They mean the world to me. The little girl is my 8 year old granddaughter. The little boy in the center is my 4 year old son, and the 6 year old boy on the right is my grandson. My grandchildren live about 7 hours away from me (8 if I am driving!), so I don't get to see them nearly as often as I like.
My son came to town this week-end to attend a meeting to plan his 20 year high school reunion this fall. He was class president his senior year, so he is in charge of the reunion committee. Can you believe one of my sons is having his 20 year high school reunion, and one is preparing to start kindergarten? Neither can I!! Anyway, my daughter-in-law stayed home to work on an auction for the kids' school, so I had all day Saturday with my babies!!
We had fun! We planted seeds and prepared some beds for flowers--finally we got a break from the rainy weather. We did crafts. I baked my son's favorite childhood cookies, Rice Krispie treats for my granddaughter and brownies for my grandson, and sent them home with goodies. I delighted in making lunch for the three kids and spoiling them a little.
And while the boys were off playing Legos, my granddaughter and I shared some girly time. I gave her a manicure, making it as close to a salon manicure as I could. It was lots of fun!

I so wish my son and his family lived closer! I cherish the time I get to spend with my grandchildren and I love that all three young ones get along so well when we are together. They are such a joy!