Monday, October 16, 2017

Brody in March

These are a few of my favorite photos of Brody from this past March before he had surgery in early April to remove a malignant mass in his bladder and another one near his heart. 

I got this one printed as a 5x7 and it's now in the wall gallery in our family room. 
This is classic Brode relaxing while also being wary of my undesired attention (ha ha).

It's been 3-1/2 months since I last saw my main man Brode. I miss him every day. I take great comfort in knowing that he's restored to perfect health in a wonderful, happy place and that I'll be with him again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Our Cruise According To My Phone

Last November we went on our first cruise that wasn't a Disney cruise. It was on a Royal Caribbean ship, and it was a lot of fun (it still couldn't beat Disney though). I don't think I posted very much about this cruise aside from a few favorite pictures. As with all of our trips, I took most of the pictures with my real camera, but I snapped a few with my phone, mostly at the very beginning and end of the trip. So, here is our cruise vacation as far as my phone is concerned!

In the first two pictures we were at Chicago's Midway airport to fly to Fort Lauderdale (Midway is SO MUCH BETTER than O'Hate O'Hare!).
Cute Christmas-scarved owls in a toy shop there. 

Sam coloring while we waited for our flight to start boarding.
He got the coloring kit from the above-mentioned toy shop.

In Fort Lauderdale in the hotel shuttle on the way to the hotel from the airport.

At dinner the night before the cruise.

Our hotel. I love the palm trees of Florida.  

A cute owl painting for sale on the ship that I spotted shortly after we boarded.

I took this picture from the balcony of our suite on the ship as we sailed away from Florida.
{Insert Enya's "Sail Away" song.}

The ship had a nice rock climbing wall that John really enjoyed. (I will say that Disney ships don't have rock walls!) This picture also features the itinerary of the cruise (two sea days, two stops in Mexico, and a stop in Grand Cayman).

Owls at a shop in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Gazing up at the stars in Playa del Carmen

Last evening of the cruise, photo taken from the top deck, sailing back to Fort Lauderdale. 

Wow, what a fun cruise! Airports, hotels, a rock wall, a little bit of Mexico, and of course the ocean.
Totally worth it! Ha ha.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five Things for Friday

1. I totally identify with something Jerry Seinfeld said in a recent article I read: 
"I love penmanship. I love writing with a pen. I feel like I'm painting." 
Me too, Jerry, me too! It's one of the reasons I won't go digital and love having a paper planner and writing lists and things. Writing--physically writing--can definitely feel like an art form. Unless your handwriting is like chicken scratches, then it's debatable. (That was my lame attempt at a Seinfeld-ish joke!)

2. Here's another thing I read in an article recently, this one from the Penn alumni magazine: 
"This tension between the certain joy of literature and the chancy pleasure of people will plague me for life."
That cracked me up when I read it. I totally relate to that one too! When given the choice, nine times out of ten I'd prefer to stay home and read my book, which I know without doubt will be a pleasurable experience (even if the book isn't great), rather than go hang out with people, which could be either a pleasurable experience or a stressful one. #introvert #hermitcrab #bookworm

3. Alright, one more quote and then I'm done with quotes, I promise! This one is by far the most profound.
This past Sunday afternoon between General Conference sessions, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away. 

I felt so sad when I found out. These men in church leadership feel like grandfathers to me, especially because I've never really had a grandfather in my life. And I had a soft spot for Elder Hales. I saw him speak at the youth celebration at Radio City Music Hall for the dedication of the Manhattan New York Temple in 2004. There's something about his soft-spoken manner that speaks to my heart. I read his book Return: Four Phases of Our Mortal Journey Home this year and it had a very positive effect on me; it's a book that I'll refer to throughout my life.

This is a quote from his book Return from the chapter "Facing Death." It brings me comfort regarding his death and death in general, especially in light of events like what happened in Las Vegas the same day he passed away:

"I testify of the extraordinary peace and tranquility that await those beyond the veil who have followed the light and knowledge they received in this life. If we could experience, even momentarily, the scene that awaits the righteous there, we would find it difficult to return to mortality. I know this from experience."

I'm sure Elder Hales was greeted by a very joyful and much-deserved wonderful scene worthy of a great and valiant servant of the Lord when he returned to his heavenly home on Sunday.

4. The last time I did a Five Things post I mentioned Homegoods and how great it is that stores from the Northeast have been opening here in Iowa around where I live. Well, there's another one to add to the list, and it opens today. It's Trader Joe's! This is an excellent healthy grocery store with lots of great products. I shop there when I'm on the Cape in the summers. I'm excited that I'll now be able to shop there whenever I want! 

5. The new season of Poldark started this week and oh my gosh, I'm in love. With the show, with the books, with the characters, and yeah I'll admit it, with Ross Poldark himself!


It's a four-day weekend for us, and for once in our lives we're not going anywhere!
I hope everyone has a good weekend while we enjoy our staycation.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

About Last Fall...

As you can probably tell from my last two posts, I'm getting caught up on pictures from my phone from last fall that I never posted here on my blog but wanted to. You know what they say, {cliche incoming}...
...better late than never!

A bucolic scene outside of a picturesque church at a wedding that Peter and I attended. 
It reminds me of England (not that I've ever been there...sob). 

 When John has major attitude problems with me, this is one of the things he has to do.
 I think it helps. Though there have been some close calls, he hasn't had to do this in months!

When the cutest boy in the whole wide world falls asleep on the couch after school.

Not far from our house was this pretty scene in the woods.

 My front porch decorating skills are on fire.

Sam's art table was getting out of control. Another clean-out and organizing project that got added to my list.

I saw this Beauty and the Beast Lego castle set at Target and had to take a picture because as you may know I love B&TB. 
P.S. I ended up getting this for Christmas! I still haven't put it together, and Sam won't do it for me because "it's for girls."

A pretty sunset at the top of my neighborhood (featuring an apparent stairway to heaven!).  

 Here was my best Martha Stewart moment of fall: jack o'lantern clementines for John's class Halloween party! 

 I love this tree in our yard. There's a certain time of the year (usually in the early 20s of October) when it features the dwindling green leaves of summer topped by the victorious reds, oranges, and yellows of fall. I think it's so pretty for the few days that it looks like this! 

I wish when I'd taken this picture at Barnes & Noble that I'd gotten both of these. I ended up getting Barnsie a few weeks later (he was too cute to resist and I have a soft spot for teddy bears and for B&N), but Noble was all sold out by then, both in the store and online. It is my mission this holiday season to get that dog! (P.S. I'm a descendant of the Noble of Barnes & Noble, so there are family history reasons for this desired acquisition!)

Sam: "If I were president my assistant would be a snake." He understands politics perfectly. 😆

I saw this at Costco and wished I had a daughter. Although I wouldn't buy this for her because I would give her my own Samantha doll (which is still in excellent condition!). 

Sam's artwork made it on to the Eric Carle display at school.

Do you see it?

There was this weird day in November when it was really warm out after raining a lot, so Sam went outside in his swimsuit and turned the slide into a waterslide and splashed around in the puddles in the sand. It almost gave Wisconsin Dells a run for its money.

And that was the best of last fall, at least as far as my phone is concerned! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sam the Lego Man

We have thousands of Legos at our house because Sam loves getting Lego sets and putting them together. He makes his own creations too. He's good at doing both. 

A Star Wars set that a friend got him for his birthday last year

A Doctor Strange set from Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Adam (also from last year's birthday)

Lego chaos to begin...

...with more order creeping in...

...and a completed Lego set for the win! 
(How's that for your daily dose of poetry?)

I don't have a picture in this post of the actual Lego table in our playroom, but this is the secondary Lego table that Sam claimed in the basement kitchen. (So much for my aspiration to sit at this counter and challenge myself by putting together intricate 1000-piece puzzles!)
I love organizing things but I've given up when it comes to Legos. My efforts at doing so have all proven to be futile, so now they all just get tossed into storage bins. It's easy and it works!

Every now and again the Lego Duplos still get taken out and played with. Although this picture once again is from last fall, and I can't remember the last time the Duplos have come out since then (sniff, sniff). 

John likes Legos but never got into them the way Sam has.
The Lego love in our family comes from Sam the Lego Man!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Wisconsin, I Hardly Knew You

We spent Labor Day weekend last year at Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. For once we we were in the Dells when it wasn't winter, so we were able to do some exploring and see some of the beautiful Wisconsin scenery. We went on a duckboat tour--one of my favorite ways to sightsee!

These ancient lakeside rock formations were really neat. 

 We nabbed Bigfoot while we were at it! 

Of course we spent a lot of time in the waterpark, too.

It was a fun weekend in a fun (and beautiful) state!