Monday, February 24, 2014

oh, let's go to France

Winter's getting long and I'm getting a little squirrely, so I looked through some old photo files today. This blog was a newborn when Bill and I went to France and Ireland in September 2008. So if you weren't with me then, these photos might be new to you.

The main purpose of that trip was to spend "parents week" in Ireland visiting Katie. She was spending her freshman first semester there. We flew over a few days early and visited my cousin Susan, who's lived most of her adult life in France. She and her husband Andre were wonderful hosts. And France was ... divine!

It's true what they say about the light in Paris: purely magical.
We were finishing a day in Paris and ended up here by the Louvre.
The light nearly took my breath away.

Art is everywhere. Paris is art.

Away from Paris, the road to Vaux le Vicomte, an incredible chateau. Do you get a little crazy over certain types of photos, like I do? This is my type: tunnels, windows and doors, symmetrical lines and vanishing points nearly make me swoon.

It was insane!

Hope you enjoyed these ... maybe a few from Ireland next!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

happy birthday, Katie!

The birthdays are whizzing by and blog-wise I've missed a couple. I did catch Bill's birthday in January, but my son Dan's on January 26 was missed (on the road) and son Mark's on February 8 got barely a mention (the day before Lily's, though we were with him!) Yesterday was my brother Pat's birthday. A collective happy birthday! So here we are today, Katie's 24th birthday.

Twenty-four. Whew. Katie's birth story is one of my favorites. I had to call Bill at the office a couple of times to get him home. David, 6, rubbed my back as I was on all fours in the family room, pretty much in full labor, while Bill's mom stood wringing her hands. We arrived at the hospital just after 3:30 p.m. and Katie arrived at 4:24 p.m. after a push or two. No doctor was present, just two nurses and Bill. We shouldn't have paid the absent OB!

It was very special to bring a girl home from the hospital to our three little boys. (I never wanted to know the sex of my babies and loved being surprised.) Katie had no choice but to fit right in with the boys' games and wild romps around the house. I think having brothers took away any mystery about boys in general: a good thing!

For my part, having a daughter after three sons was a wonder: sweet and baffling all at once. Katie is and always was a quiet and introspective soul, so much so that at times I found it hard to know my own daughter. She wasn't easily swayed or persuaded, which can be maddening for a mother but served her powerfully in adolescence and young adulthood.

We had many tough moments, this girl and me. But I've come to realize what God is teaching me through Katie. First of all that she is HIS, not mine. He fashioned her perfectly for his purposes. I can't wait to see how God will use Katie's pure spirit and beautiful gifts in a world so needing them. I've learned humility, the power of prayer, and (though Katie might disagree), a bit more patience.

Thank you for all you are to me, Katie. I love you and wish you a very happy birthday!

Taken last summer, a favorite photo of Katie with her nieces Ari and Ashlyn

Friday, February 14, 2014


Happy Valentine's Day! So much has happened in our family in the past year. It was about this time a year ago that we first saw the orthopedic surgeon and learned Bill would need a spinal fusion. (Ten months later, he is still recovering; some days are just an effort for him.) We welcomed two precious grandsons over the summer. My dad died in early September after a long journey through dementia and my adoptive mom, Pat, passed away suddenly in January. Finally, I helped our daughter Katie move to Florida last month. Bill's mom, 97, lives here in town in assisted living. She seems physically well but her memory is not.

Every family encounters trials and joys, but the past year seemed to give us extra helpings of each. All of our children and grandchildren now live out of state. Some days I really struggle with this. I never imagined we'd want to "follow" our kids as they move away, but now we are beginning to talk and pray about possibly relocating. I don't know, maybe losing Dad brought this into focus for me. I don't want to be an absent grandmother. And while yes, we can "take road trips" (a comment I hear often), honestly it's getting old to have to drive 450 miles to hold a grandchild or celebrate a birthday.

Some retirees look forward to travel, hobbies and socializing and I'm fine with some of that. Bill and I enjoy our quiet evenings, dinners for two, and bike rides. But my heart aches terribly in missing those five precious little ones. I never want to be intrusive or overbearing in the lives of my children and grandchildren, but I do want to be available, to know, love and enjoy them.

I think it comes down to love. Things like houses and vacations don't much matter to me. They certainly won't matter in eternity. After God, family is the only thing I need to love.

And so while I seek God's wisdom and grapple with Him stirring my spirit, I trust He has the best plan, the best timing and will prepare us for whatever is to come. Also, I am reminded to "be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11). No matter what I may want, I choose to trust God in all things.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

birthday buddies

I could kick myself for taking so long to post, but I won't. Home last Monday after my 2-week road trip. Then we hit the road early Friday for D.C. to celebrate son Mark and Lily's birthdays on February 8 and 9.

My sister called me a "jet-setter." Um, no. Travel tends to wear me out. Though I'm not a napper, the day I flew home from Florida I took a 3-hour nap! A homebody, that's me. But you know I love nothing better than to visit the grandchildren!

Lily's mama, my daughter-in-love Jill, planned a simple Saturday morning "Tea for Two" party: just a few little girls and their moms. The birthday girl, though only two, behaved like a little lady: no melt-downs as might befit a 2-year-old. A fun morning of cookie decorating, a story, and yummy refreshments! A few of my favorite photos ... 

Lily carefully decorates her cookie. Oops, a couple sprinkles went in her mouth. 

Oh come on, what could be cuter? Lily is two!

Mark was celebrated too! But of course, there's no time off from being a daddy:
and he's an amazing one, here reading to Ethan and Lily.

Thanks, Mark and Jill, for letting us celebrate the February birthdays with you. Maybe next time, the cherry blossoms will be out!