April 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Today I'm thinking about...

...nothing much. Except spring! Spring is finally here in Pennsylvania! And this weekend we are going to sweep and scrub the front porch and set out my rockers. Good times. Good times. I am so looking forward to mornings outside with my coffee. : ) I hope your weekend is warm and spring filled too, my friends. Here is a peek at the past week in our country home...

I changed out the bedding on our bed. Goodbye warm flannels. See you in October. : )

Cranberry tea and cranberry muffins. : )

My baby.

And Grandma teaching her how to play Tic Tac Toe. : )

She also had a lunch date with her Aunt Sally. Steve's sister Sally and Flynn have always been close...even before Flynn was born. Sally blessed me with a clean house and homemade meals throughout my pregnancy...as well as tons of prayers. : )

The signs of spring are everywhere. Happy.Happy.Happy.

And finally...just a black and white selfie on the way to the grocery store. Because I had real clothes on. And makeup too!

Happy spring weekend, my friends!

April 27, 2015

The Firsts And The Lasts

When I was expecting Madison years ago, I received a milestone calendar to mark the important "Firsts" of her first year. You know...her first smile, her first tooth, the first time she rolled over, and the first steps she took. I was vigilant about anticipating these major moments in my baby's life, and was so excited each and every time I got to document one on her calendar. They even had cute little stickers to add! I was so excited to watch as she moved through the year and accomplished all these "firsts". It was the same with my Peyton, Rhett, and Flynn. Well...maybe the documentation slacked off a bit...but I still anticipated each and every "first" of my sweet babies.

Lately, as my baby approaches Kindergarten, I am thinking less about the "firsts", and more about the "lasts". The "lasts" sneak up on us, and we often don't even know that they occurred until afterwards. A few weeks ago, when Flynn took my hand to go up to receive Communion at Mass instead of lifting her arms to be picked up, it hit me. I had carried a baby in church for the last time.  And I hadn't even known it. When Madison was little and still in her crib, we had her big girl bed all ready for her. One day she simply stated she wanted to sleep in it. As excited as I was for her, I cried myself to sleep that night. That very morning, I had walked into her nursery and saw her smiling face and watched her jump up and down holding the crib rail that she had chewed on while teething. I had lifted her out of that crib for the last time. And I hadn't even known it.

When Peyton was little, every morning while Rhett napped and Madison was at school, she and I had coffee and toast. We would sit together in a big chair. She had milk and I had coffee. We shared toast, and she would always take the last sip of my coffee. One day, I got up from that chair and put that coffee cup away for the last time. And I hadn't even known it. When Rhett was a baby, he had a favorite book. It was called Big Farm Tractor. Every single day, we snuggled in the rocker in his room and read that book before his afternoon nap. One day I closed that book and set it down. I tucked my little boy into his bed for his nap for the last time. And I hadn't even known it.

I didn't know when I changed a diaper, or bought formula, or gave a bubble bath or carried a baby up the stairs or pushed one in a stroller that it would be the last time I would do it with that child. Or with any child of mine. And I am so thankful for that. I don't think my heart would be able to stand knowing that those simple moments of mothering were ending. As much as I realize that a large part of mothering means letting go, I still resist and mourn change. As much as I anticipate those "firsts", I dread the "lasts". I long to hang onto childhood. It is beautiful and safe and cozy. But as my dear friend Tara reminded me...these moments can be sweet too. And I realize that these "lasts" mean something else. They mean new "firsts".

The last time my Flynn had me carry her in church meant that the next week would be the first time she would walk herself. And she was so proud to do so. The last time I drove Madison to work meant that the next time she would drive herself. And she was thrilled to do so. Mothering is indeed letting go. And learning to embrace it. One "last" at a time.

One of my favorite parts of mothering each and every child...pushing a stroller on our morning walk.
Here is my baby Flynn just a few short years ago all ready for our morning walk. : )

April 23, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...And A Winner!

Today I'm thinking about...

...the upcoming weeks. And how I am actually prepared for them. In a few short weeks, my firstborn...my Madison...graduates from high school. I always thought this time would be tremendously difficult for me. When she started Kindergarten, and then middle school, and even high school...I dreaded the thought that her graduation would come. I couldn't imagine my little girl...my teenager being finished. Being done. Moving on.

But lately...I've realized that it isn't devastating at all. She isn't a little girl. She isn't a young teenager. She is a beautiful, independent, strong, creative, determined young woman. And...she is ready. She is ready to move on. To begin new challenges and new adventures. I think back to when I was graduating. I was so excited to start. To begin a new chapter. To see what the future held. And so it is with my own child. Yes...the years passed quickly. Yes...it will be hard not having all my children with me all the time. But this is life. And life goes on. And she has a life to start living.

So as we plan her party and pick out announcements and finalize graduation plans...I do it with joy and pride in my heart. And to be honest, a bit of sadness. I am a mother after all.

Here is a peek at our life this past week in our country home. : )

We finally saw signs of spring...

and my little Cinderella was thrilled!

And it appears she is a blogger in training.  : )

We had some quick, throw together meals...

but they were still yummy.

Some storms rolled in...

and we played a favorite all afternoon.
(Tara...please tell Abigail Flynn cannot wait to play with her!)

Binge watching is my favorite. : )

And we took our first "Before Mass" outside photos of the year!

For the record... Baby Gap clothes are the BEST. This is her third spring in this dress!!!

Oh...and then winter returned. Ugh!

Thank you all for entering the giveaway for the dishtowels! The winner is Erica!!! Congratulations! Please email me your info so I can put them in the mail. We will do this again soon!

And that's it, my friends!
Have a cozy weekend!
Thanks for visiting. : )

April 21, 2015

A Touch Of Spring

The bunnies are packed away, the house got a quick dusting, and now we are ready for spring! Here are a few photos of the spring touches in our country home. : )

Happy spring, my friends!!!!!

April 18, 2015

I Have A Thing About...And A Giveaway! (Closed)

You know I have a few...quirks...shall we say, right? Well, one of them is with dishtowels. I always have trouble with them because having dirty dishtowels around and not remembering how long I have been using them and worrying about yucky stuff like mildew just drives me nuts! Until I found these...

Problem solved!

I am thrilled with my new dishtowels! It doesn't take much to make me happy, folks. But seriously, they are perfect. Every evening after the kitchen is clean, I throw the used towel in the laundry tub. Then I set out a fresh, clean towel for the next day. : )

When I ordered them from Zulily, I purchased an extra set to give away here on the blog. So if you would like a chance to win these...

Simply let me know down below!
We will choose a winner through our super fancy system of drawing a name out of a bowl on Monday, and announce the winner next week. : )

So there you have it...a super simple solution to a not so major problem.
Have a great day! : )

April 16, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Today I am thinking about...

...the past week. And how much we enjoyed it. We had a visitor, and we could not have asked for a nicer young man to welcome into our home. My Madison met a friend through one of her social media accounts, and began talking to him on the phone. They talked for hours and hours and became quite good friends. Steve and I spoke with him as well, and also used Skype to meet his parents. When Madison and he asked if he could come to America from Denmark to visit, Steve and I agreed that it would be a good experience for both of them, as well as for our entire family. And so last week, Madison, Steve and Rhett drove to the airport to meet him. : )

All ready to go...and not a bit nervous. ; )

The moment they met in person at last. : )

We welcomed him with an Italian dinner...what else?!...and spent the first evening talking and laughing and visiting.

The week flew by with dinners and games and movies and even visiting Steve at the dealerships. Saturday night he joined us for Mass, and then we invited some of our family and friends in for a super casual evening of Subway subs and fun. : ) We could not have been happier for the two of these young people. Nicolas was polite, respectful, pleasant, classy, intelligent and fun. His parents did a wonderful job of raising him! He taught us as much as we shared with him, and it was a wonderful week.

Oh, and I made an apple pie...because is there anything more American than apple pie?

The morning of his last full day here, I surprised them with a special breakfast for two. : )
And they were so thankful and cute!

In other news, Kirby got a bath for the occasion...

and Flynn was thrilled with the new jammies that the Easter Bunny forgot to put in her basket and had to mail to her. : )

First outdoor-before-Mass-photo of the year!

And just some of the women in my family who came to visit and meet Nicolas on Saturday night!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!!!!

April 13, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter 2015 has come and gone. It was a beautiful, quiet and cozy day here...

On Saturday, we made our traditional bunny cake...

and loved our new Easter jammies. : )
And yes...I totally miss the days when they all wore them. And matched.

We snuggled on the sofa and watched Here Comes Peter Cottontail....

and we left treats for the bunny. : )

Oh, and I made sure clothes were ready for 8:00 AM Mass.

Bright and early Easter morning, we posed for pictures. I am missing one here...my Madison offered to take my sweet mother to the Easter Vigil Mass Saturday night. : )

Flynn was thrilled to see that the Easter bunny had come! And this mommy's heart was so happy when her twelve year old son continued the magic in a new way...for his baby sister.

After Mass, we came home and changed back into our jammies, hunted for and found the baskets and then had a yummy Easter Brunch. We had homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade -by -someone -else- nutroll, and fresh fruit. : )

Then we watched movies...and some of us napped...before we had dinner. We had ham, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. And yes. Those are foil pans you see there. Years ago, I got smart and realized if I cooked the food in them, I didn't need to switch it out to store the leftovers. And...no washing. That's how we do it here, folks. : )

Dessert was Bunny Cake...

Cherry Cheese Pie...

and cookies. : )

And with all that food...I'm not cooking for the week!
Ham for days!!!
Happy Easter one more time, my friends!