Summer Fun ~ Kid Style

Brother Al helping Blake with his swing
Brother Al helping Blake with his swing

No matter what your upbringing I suspect the kickoff of summer elicits memories of sun-drenched days, when nothing was more important that cramming as many outdoor activities as possible into your weeks before school bells began tolling once again.

Those summer childhood memories for me meant baseball, long bike rides with friends, barbecues complete with  the sticky-sweet juiciness of watermelon dripping down my face and arms, swimming, and waterskiing.  Although I grew up in the midwest and was oblivious to the stunning coastlines with their massive expanses of sand and surf, we were not without our man-made beach where even on a cool cloudy day we could be found shivering at the water’s edge, waiting for direction from our swimming coach.

We took a respite from laboring on the farm and headed to my childhood stomping grounds, where my baby brother and his family still live, a great place to raise a family, but too small for this claustrophobic girl to stick around long after high school.  However, there seemed no better way to ring in the summer than to participate in my nephew’s 9th birthday party, including a barbecue out at the beach.

Sunset rainbow
Sunset rainbow after the storm

As we headed west the skies opened up and the deluge began, threatening to spoil big party plans.  As I sit here writing, I believe it has been 20 straight days since the rains appeared and this trend looks to continue for the next week.  Fortunately, by mid-morning of Blake’s special day, the sun came out and we experienced sunny, beach-ready weather.

Vehicles laden with food, toys, and a new puppy, we headed to the beach prepared to celebrate a 9-year old’s highly anticipated day.  As in most places revisited as an adult, this sandy bit of beach that we passed seemed much smaller than I remembered.  Boating and waterskiing were to take the place of sand between the toes on this day.

Visiting with family, playing games, reliving a small slice of days past through the eyes of children was a most relaxing way to spend a few days…priceless.  At the end of this month we will head back to celebrate Seth’s 16th birthday.  Mom and dad, how does it feel to have your firstborn getting behind the wheel of a car?!

Letting Go

Learning how to let go or knowing when to let go can be painful or downright frightening, depending on the circumstance.  It seems throughout life we do this little letting go dance  and as time marches on, the dance steps can become more complicated.

When we were preparing to embark upon our new “nomadic” lifestyle, selling our home and letting go of possessions caused me to catch my breath a time or two.  Once I moved beyond some of the initial emotions that this evoked I felt the liberation of unburdening ourselves.  Letting go of our “stuff” opened up an entire new world with lots of possibilities.  As we began to travel this beautiful country and meet some great people I was reminded of what is truly important, and it became obvious that it wasn’t our “stuff”.

Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.  ~  Robert Brault

 I found myself reflecting upon this topic as we traveled back to Ohio earlier this week to visit Terry’s folks.  I must confess that I envisioned posting about the countryside here and mom’s beautiful gardens but I’ve forgotten the cable necessary to download photos to our computer so perhaps fate is at work here and I was meant to write this instead.

The touchy subject of aging presented itself and we found mom to be receptive; it seemed she wanted to discuss it.  We had pursued this topic with her in the past, only to find she was not ready. Now, at age 86, and with dad 92, it is time.  That is not to say that she is fully prepared to deal with all the aspects of aging, such as when to give up driving; how can I continue to live on my own should something happen to dad; how not to burden the children; what if one of us becomes ill and must take care of the other; will I outlive my nest egg.  All of these signify letting go of independence.  Although this is painful to see parents go through, we are thankful that mom is ready to share some of these worries, to let go just a little, allowing her children to be part of the process.

Our thoughts go out to all of you who are dealing with the challenges of aging parents or have this looming on the horizon.  May we all be able to let go of our fears and navigate these waters with patience, love, and grace.

Visit with Family

Hola from balmy Mexico!

I guess you could say that I took a hiatus from blogging.  I am not one to do a posting just to fill space – not going to bore you with how I rearranged my kitchen cabinets (which is a posting I actually came across recently).

We, like many others, have been patiently awaiting the rainy season as it has been a long dry spell.  Many of those who have migrated south of the border (and locals perhaps) take a little break from this area during the month of May, which is our hottest month. Having said that, it still is rather pleasant here even at 90º, as we do not have the accompanying humidity during the dry season.  We did decide, however, to follow the crowds and take a trip north of the border to see family.

Our first stop was Indianapolis to visit Terry’s sister and husband and to pick up a vehicle we have stowed there.  Once the rains subsided (which had been plentiful this year in the midwest), we assisted in planting a garden, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Terry got the task of roto-tilling the ground before we planted so I am not sure that he has as fond memories as I do!

I was reminded by my sister-in-law that when I posted some pictures of family back over the Christmas holidays, I neglected to include everyone in the family, that being the four-legged variety of relative.  My apologies to Frank and Pearl!

Frank Posing for the Camera
Pearl Napping after a Tough Day!

Pearl is very camera-shy (actually barks when you point a camera at her, as does Terry’s sister when a camera is pointed in her direction!) so taking a picture of her had to be a sneak attack.

From there we headed to Illinois to see my brother and family and to attend my godson’s graduation.  We also had the honor of seeing said godson (Seth) decked out for his 8th grade dance, which was quite an event.  It looked more like the prom to me.  My, how times have changed!

Seth and Friend Dressed for the Dance
Paige, Seth, and Blake

A rare shot of niece and nephews in the same photo:  Paige, always the photogenic one; Seth, still no smile to speak of; and Blake, hamming it up for the camera!

Next on the agenda was getting ready for a very important graduation.  I saw friends that I had not seen in 20+ years!  It was a very good time.

Proud Parents and Siblings Awaiting the Graduate
Grandma and Happy Graduate

And that is about as close as we could get to capturing a smile on Seth’s face!

A grade school talent show was on the list of activities that we took time to see, where our niece Paige did a song and dance routine with several of her friends.

Paige - the "Justice" Girl

After a few days of enjoying family in Illinois, we ventured to Ohio to spend time with Terry’s parents, assisting with as many projects as they would allow.  The weather was very nice, as was our visit.  We were both grateful to be able to offer a helping hand where needed.

From Ohio, back to the Indianapolis area to spend a night with niece Sara and her significant other, Nick.  I am including photos of two more of our four-legged relatives, one who was overlooked in my last family posting (Bailie) and the newest addition to the family, Marge.

Bailie, a Very Calm, Lovable Girl
Marge, with Mom Sara

Out of control, boisterous Marge thought she was a cat in this next shot, attempting to climb as far into Terry’s lap as she could

We had a wonderful visit and the time flew by, as it seems to when you are on vacation.  Is it proper to call it a vacation when you are retired?

We are now back in Mexico, returning to the rainy season and some amazing storms.  It is a bit more humid than before the rains came and the temps are hovering around 80º. Not a bad gig if you can get it!