Friday, 5 July 2013

Seven Years Old




First picture


It's just not possible.   It's not possible that it's been seven years since Aunt Betty (Mama's older sister) drove from Austin on the 4th of July to stay with Emmeline.   It's not possible that seven years ago,  I checked into the hospital for labor induction on the 5th of July.   It's not possible that my tiny little baby girl is now the curly-haired seven-year old who's sitting beside me looking at her baby pictures as I type.


4-D ultrasound: first glimpse of our baby girl


Big Sister met Clare for the first time.


Aunt Betty with Clare

The world's best OB/GYN holding Clare

It's not possible that I got through a delivery without Mama being in the waiting room, waiting to hold a new grandchild.   It's not possible that Aunt Betty, Nancy, and Leslie all stepped in, not to take Mama's place, but to help lessen the void left which I felt especially after having Mama there for Emmeline's birth two and a half years before.

But it is possible, because with God all things are possible.   This teacher who could handle the kids others could not, who was quick to judge parents and other teachers, learned that personalities aren't created; children are born with them.   I learned any talents I had were entirely gifts from God and I learned to call on Him.   I learned that my children have all taken on the personalities of their patron saints.   And I learned that saints, especially St. Clare and St. Jeanne d' Arc, weren't all halos and holy poses; you don't accomplish big things for God without a little determination and stubbornness.   Those kind of personalities are fun and the stuff of life if you learn to embrace them and hold on tight.    I learned how to balance outings and doctors appointments with a father, deep in dementia and Parkinson's who would get lost, whilst carrying a baby carrier in one hand and the hand of a toddler with the other.  I learned that God would give me a little glimpse of Mama every time I looked at Clare.
I learned love multiplies and a mother's heart expands to hold it.


Ready for the car-ride home from the hospital.

Straight hair; no sign of curls to come


Always determined

Signs of curls to come & mischievous look which still tickles this Mama



Sweetest, most tender-hearted, especially with her little brother


Happy Birthday to our Clare Jeanne d'Arc.   I am so glad God created you and sent you to us.   I can't imagine life without you.   It would be very boring, indeed!

Our sweet little firecracker, almost born on the 4th of July:)

I wasn't feeling up to a large party, so we had cake with family friends at our neighborhood pool.   We'll make it up next year:)   I found this in Clare's room.



She wanted a homemade strawberry cake.

 

















 


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Napping Children

Sleeping children: few things are sweeter.   These pictures of my sweeties deserved their own post.   The beauty of napping after swimming:










Monday, 1 July 2013

Back Porch Living: Worth the Wait


Before move-in



I found out the weeds between the pavers LIKE salt.   I poured salt between the squares and the weeds have thrived! The ceiling fan was white and rusted, so I just painted it black.   It worked perfectly well; there was no reason to replace it.


It's been nearly two-and-half years since we moved into this house.   It's taken almost all of that time to get our back porch together.   And it's not a large porch.   The poor place has been a dumping ground for tools and toys some of that time.   I made several attempts to pretty it up, but each time, something fell apart or I got lazy about keeping it together.

We had a mild spring and June this year.   It gave me the opportunity and motivation to get outdoors and spruce up some areas which had been neglected.   My back tells me I overdid it a bit, but that's another story.   In addition to front flowerbeds and the front porch, I finally tackled the back porch.   I ended up finishing it in time to host a birthday gathering for friends, which served as a nice reward for my efforts.





Since August, we've had a long, flat cardboard box propped up against first, a wall in our garage, and then, a column on our back porch.   Last summer, I got great deal on an outdoor glass table that seats six at the Home Depot summer clearance sale.   It was only $40!   We also got two "rockers."   The pair of those were $25.   For both!   I love metal furniture because it can eventually be painted when it needs refreshing.   I couldn't figure out where to put things, since we also have an area formed by square pavers off our back porch.   It is uncovered, so I hated to put the table out there.


Outdoor coffee table I hope to refurbish for indoor use with a wood top.   Maybe?


Eventually, I realized we didn't need to keep the outdoor coffee table I purchased at a garage sale (actually at this house before closing).  The dining table could go in its place and the chairs could be used with my mama's church pew and the loveseat/bench I also purchased at the same garage sale as the coffee table.   Space and placement dilemma solved!   I still want to paint the ceiling light blue and I have black metal candle holders to hang on either side of the painting above the church pew.



Candle holders: $1 each at King Dollar!   Outdoor ushions on church pew: part of 4-piece set at garage sale





It's been such a wonderful place to eat and relax.   We've eaten most or our meals out there, under the ceiling fan.   At night, the lights and candles make it a special place to enjoy cooler temperatures and the escape from the sun's overbearing presence.   Porch living is the best and I am so thankful that after years of rentals with no porches, our first home being plagued by mosquitoes, and waiting for special deals on sale and at garage sales, that I am now able to enjoy life out back, as I used to do as a child.   It's been worth the wait!


The church pew is made of cypress.   Mama bought it when an old church in Louisiana was torn down.   The pew is hand-made and you can almost feel the "Amens" and "Hallelujahs."


I painted the door teal during spring break.   I love my bright teal door!



We've had these grape-cluster decorative lights for years, but never had a place to use them.



My little St. Francis corner



This was a bright, shiny brass fixture from the church garage sale.   I painted it black, to use with candles.



Mama's tea cart makes a pretty bar area.



Centerpiece of the porch: Mama's painting of geraniums.   They were her favorite flower.   Her intention was to paint a black rectangle on the church pew back and paint the horizontal version of this image on it to match.  


New Views, New Records

We have depended upon my iPhone for pictures almost two years now.   Our point-and-shoot digital camera was on its last leg before a final drop sent it to the camera graveyard.   The iPhone was fine until all my photos disappeared (most were saved elsewhere) and I was no longer able to take photos outside of Facebook (sometimes) and text-messages.   I just didn't want to spend another unnecessary dime, so I was taking pictures within text messaging and sending them to Joey.   Then, I would save them on his phone and e-mail them to my inbox, where I could download them. 

Finally, I remembered that it had been a very long time since we cashed in any credit card cashback/bonus points.   When I started looking up our balances, I realized that over the years, we had built up enough points to buy a nicer camera with no extra money out-of-pocket.   We even had enough to buy a 32 GB memory card.   I was so excited!   I haven't had time to learn what it can really do, yet.   I have tutorials pinned on Pinterest; one day I  will have time to sit and go through those!

I really, really, really like this camera!   Even using its most basic functions, I'm getting pictures with which I am pleased.   It reminds me of my days of using my dad's Vivitar 35 mm back in high school.   I was a member of an Explorer (associated with Boy Scouts, but open to girls) Troop whose focus was journalism.   We took pictures and wrote articles for the local newspaper.   Good times and it's nice to remember the fun and creativity of those days.


First picture I took: of course, a picture of the camera box!


If there's one thing I've learned from reading blogs, when you get a new camera, you must take a picture like this.   It's a rule in Ye Olde Book of Blogging.

It's been great having better pictures of the children.   These are some of the first pictures I took of them with my new camera:


Thomas, My Little Adventurer.   He has store-bough super hero costumes, but this flannel blanket, made by my cousin Linda when he was born, is his favorite cape.   He saved the stick from a park expedition.   I love that he knows how to play with simple things.



Clare, imitating the pose from her grass seedlings she brought home from school.   I love it when you capture personality on film!



Emmeline, Future Pie Queen.   She is becoming quite the baker and this picture captures her enthusiasm.

Then, there are the food pictures.   My apologies if you follow me on Facebook.   I'm one of THOSE people who take pictures of my cooking.   I generally don't take many pictures of restaurant food because I try to keep my phone put away when we're in a restaurant.   Is there any sight more sad than a person sitting with another person, or even surrounded by people, who can't put away his phone and engage in conversation?   Yes, the saddest sight is everyone at the table on their phones instead of interacting with each other.   Perhaps I see this more because I live in a college town.   And Rant Over.


Want to hear me talk about how we oven roast most of our vegetable for the millionth time??



Pie is just beautiful, at all stages.   Embrace it.


Oh, the meringue.   Oh, the toasted coconut.


I HAD to record this for all-time.   This is a blind-baked, or pre-baked, pie crust which was later filled with homemade vanilla custard and topped with meringue and coconut.   No one would see the beauty of this crispy baked pie shell without this picture.   I accept the world's thanks.


After family and food, flowers come in third as subjects.   I am my mother's daughter.






First Lost Tooth!



Following her path of doing nothing in a typical manner, with just two weeks until her seventh birthday, our Clare Bear lost her first tooth.   The new tooth was already coming in, along with a new one next to it.   The second tooth came out two nights ago.   Quite a bit of excitement for a little girl who watched her classmates losing teeth all year!
 


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