Thursday, March 25, 2010

March in Michigan (for Beth)

(This post is for my friend Beth who just got home from being in the hospital for ten days - she is battling cancer and at the beginning of her radiation therapy. Please pray for her!)

Well, it is almost the end of March and in typical Michigan style, we have seen temperatures range from below freezing (with snow) to just-about-shorts weather. Today was a gray, drizzly day and snow was in the forecast, but just missed us. I must say that I am happy. Snow in March (and April) just bums me out. I like the snow in "winter" but wish it would stay there - in winter.

When the days were nice, my boys and I experienced a beautiful preview of summer. Brendan is big enough now to play fairly independently in the backyard. I'm no longer terrified that he will climb up (and promptly fall off) the play structure before I can reach him. He is learning what he can and cannot safely do - through trial and error, of course, but still, we're making progress. Although....he DID get clonked on the head TWICE by Declan's feet while Declan was swinging...hopefully, he finally learned that lesson. The only downside about being outside so much is trying to get the boys to come back IN! They are NOT interested.

In other news, Birthday Season has officially kicked off for us again. We go through a period in the winter with no birthdays and then BAM, it's birthday madness! We went to my cousin Sean's 20th birthday party and Brendan was soo very independent - it was a big switch from the last time we were there. I barely saw him! My little cousins just swooped him up and played with him, and brought him food and kept an eye on him. Just like they do with Declan. I am sincerely so blessed to have such wonderful family. And it was nice to hear my cousin Frank describe my boys as so happy and well-behaved! Right after that party was Brian's birthday (which we celebrated at home, just the four of us). Now, Declan's fifth birthday party is coming up and then the birthday party floodgates open! FUN! :)

Picture Time:

Bikes and snow - always a fun combination!
Brendan Loooves the tricycle!

The birthday party - I love how Declan is just glommed in with all his "big" cousins

Brian's birthday at home: the boys got "him" a Dr. Seuss book
Random pic of Brendan - he likes to wear his shirt as a hat

Brian's very special birthday cupcake with a gummy lifesaver holding the candle - his all-time favorite candy (do not ask me why)

And here we are in the backyard again - look no snow!

And a bit later in the month - outside again - no hats!

We chalked a rainbow on the garden path...

In unrelated, internet-surfing news - Anne Taintor is hilarious. This particular gem cracks me up!

Ok - go enjoy the weather wherever you are!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grandma's House

My grandma is a unique woman. She is 94 1/2 years old. She will be 95 in August. She lives in her own home. She is an artist and a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Going to her house feels like coming home to me. (Especially since my own parents moved out of my childhood home in 2001). Growing up, we spent almost every Sunday at my grandparents' house. Grandma's house is in the "country" with 17 or so acres, I think. It is across the street from a lake, but with "lake privileges" (and very nice neighbors). I also would go and stay the night there for a week or so in the summer-time.

When I think of Grandma's house, I think of family. I spent summers swimming in the lake, or catching crayfish in the creek with my brothers, sisters and cousins (plus my dad, uncles and aunts). We played a lot of frisbee on the front lawn. Sometimes we would play crochet. I would climb the trees in the horse field or go pick raspberries. We went for long walks in the woods or up the dirt road to the other lake and the sand dunes. And in the winter, we would go ice skating on the lake, have snowball fights and build snowmen. Lots and lots of outdoor fun with my family.

On Saturday, I shared some of that with my boys. And Brian. We were going to visit my grandma (and uncle) so I called my aunt, who happens to live next door to my grandma now. Her daughters are 10 and 12. After some lunch, everyone went outside to "play" while grandma rested. We built a giant snowman. Brian orchestrated a huge snow fort with a tunnel. And my aunt created a fantastic sled-run down the front yard slope. I went inside with Brendan after an hour and that's when things got crazy on the sled-run. Brian built what he thought would be a snow wall at the bottom of the hill to slow the sled down because the sled was fast and kept taking the kids into the dried-up pond and through a bunch of pickery brambles. The wall wasn't quite what he expected and became a JUMP. Man, those kids had F-U-N! The first thing Declan said after two hours outside was "When can we come back?" And Brian wondered the same thing. Brian didn't have this kind of experience when he was growing up and he was a little jealous that I did. But we were both happy to be there, playing outside and building memories for our sons and cousins to enjoy, the way I enjoy my memories of time spent at grandma's house.

And now for some pictures:

Brendan was bundled up and with his snowpants on, he could barely walk. The snow was deep and untouched all winter. He sank down up to his tummy when he tried to walk unaided, so Elaine pulled him around on her sled:

Such a good big cousin!

Up and down the hill, until she was worn OUT!

And now for the sled JUMP! Declan gets some air:

Emilie - after her jump!

Some feet in the air:

The six foot snow-lady:
See the house in the background?
The girls resting on the "fort":
Declan gets more air: The End

These are a few of my favorite things...