Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012


 It has been so much fun having Rob home.  He doesn't get here often.   Randy and Judianne came for a week and invited Rob to come at the same time.  It was perfect.  R and J left on Friday and Rob stayed for a couple more days.  We spent yesterday in Springfield visiting the Lincoln Museum and Presidential Library.  Rob leaves today and then it's going to be oh, so quiet around here.  Missing you already, Rob!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I just finished reading Stephanie Nielsen's new book Heaven is Here. Although I've not been a faithful follower of her blog, I have periodically updated myself about what is going on in her life. Kristin gave me the book for my birthday, and I loved every page of it. It is amazing to me that someone who has suffered so much pain and sorrow, and who has had to deal with criticism, rejection, and judgment from others has maintained such an attitude of optimism and gratitude. To hear her expressions of gratitude for the ability to open her eyes, sit up, poop, kiss her husband, have her children willing to look at her, to be able to fold laundry, sleep in the same bed with her husband, or button a child's coat all combined to help me see just how blessed my life has been. I'm thankful for fingers that bend,
for eyebrows (even if they are not dark, well defined and shaped), for the privilege of fixing lunch, doing yard work, taking out the trash, using a computer (hopefully I will never forget the first time Quinn placed a laptop in front of me after my stroke. I placed my hands over the keyboard and when I looked at the monitor there was just line after line of jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjs. I cried about it more than a little bit and wondered if I would ever type again), eating in a restaurant without people staring at me (Well, sometimes they do stare, but not because I've been burned -- more likely my wacko hair is sticking out on one side or my SAS grandma shoes don't look particularly "fetching" with my outfit). Most of all, I'm grateful for a loving husband and a wonderful family of accomplished, righteous children and grandchildren.

Rob, Randy and his family have been with us this week. Last week we were with Heidi and her family, and squished in between Kristin and Emily were here for a few days. I love my little pillow that says, "The best things in life aren't things." Family and other relationships will always be the greatest things in our lives.
As we traveled with Randy and his family through Europe last summer we ate at least one Magnum ice cream bar every day. Now we have found them in the grocery store here, and for old times sake, we downed a few boxes together. One more thing to be grateful for!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012


I was looking at my blog from a year ago, and for a full week I blogged every day about Easter, and most of them were serious, thoughtful blogs. This year, Easter just seemed to arrive on wings of lightning. We've just had fun days packed so full of activities and things to do that there's been little time for serious reflection, but here are a few of the activities we've enjoyed.

Last year I talked about dyeing E!aster eggs the way the pioneers did with greens and onion skins. This year we tried a new method I heard about where you wrap the eggs in silk neck ties and the pattern is transferred as you boil them. We sent Heidi and Brent out for the evening and Grandpa and Max organized a back yard wiener roast. Afterward we dyed eggs and played cards with the kids. It was fun, fun, fun!

Heidi and I undertook a little project to make these candy-filled chicks for her 15 Mia Maids. They turned out cute.

Here's out Easter dinner. If you look closely you'll find a clue as to who did the cooking.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Helping the Easter Bunny

I always imagined that the Easter Bunny was like Santa Claus -- he could visit every home around the world in one night, filling baskets, hiding eggs, not to mention all the shopping, packing, coloring the eggs, etc. Well, now I've figured out that sometimes the Easter Bunny asks people to help him. He stopped here this afternoon, said he had heard that we were headed for California, and wanted to know if we could deliver a special basket to the Esplin children who had been so well-behaved this year that they deserved an extra pre-Easter basket. We're just happy to help out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No Comparison

I was pretty pleased about my great tulip display on yesterday's post. Then something happened today that really put things into perspective.

One of my favorite stories is told by Jaroldeen Edwards, in which her daughter begs her for several years to drive two hours up the California coast to see a daffodil display. She finally consents and ends up driving on a horribly rainy and foggy day and is in no mood to be looking at daffodils when she arrives. She is already dreading the drive back home and anxious to get on her way, but her daughter insists she get in the car and then drives her another twenty minutes into the mountains. They parked in a small parking lot and followed a little path covered in pine needles to a sign that read "Daffodil Garden." The path wound around through giant trees, then turned sharply. She gasped! There before her lay the most glorious sight she had ever seen. It looked as if Mother Nature had taken a great gold vat of sunshine and poured it over the mountainside. As they walked along they found a sign that read, "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking."

"50,000 bulbs"
"One at a time. One woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain."
"Began in 1958"

I have become acquainted with a friend who has turned her own 10 acres of property into just such a heavenly spot. Randy and I are leaving early tomorrow for California, and it didn't seem like a good time to drive an hour each way to look at some beautiful flowers, but I wanted to show it to a friend who loves to garden, and its beauty might be over in another week. Seeing what the Tiffins have done with their yard really brought home the thought that my few daffodils around the tree are not much to whoop about.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tulip Surprise

If you know me at all, you know that I'm always looking for give-aways. Naperville always has beautiful tulip beds up and down every street of the downtown area. Last year I happened by on the day that they were digging them out and throwing them into a garbage truck. By chance, I had a couple of garbage bags in the back of the car and they said I was welcome to take whatever I wanted. The blooms were gone by then, so I had no idea what I was getting, but I filled my bags and planted them around the two trees in the front yard. Surprise! Not bad for "free."