Saturday, May 25, 2013

Always a Fun Place to Visit

Just four days after our last snowfall, we took our three youngest to the zoo.


In the Zoo, the lions sleep today.

Don't you just think, "Aslan?"


and Polar Bears!

Not to mention monkeys:

I mean these monkeys:

We watched the seals playing

And then walked outside just as they were teaching one of them tricks.


Now treat time!

After lunch we toured the Botanical Gardens.  We all enjoyed the sunken garden.  It was so pretty, and smelled so nice.

We're such cool cats.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Is this the Security I'm Looking For?

My good friend Laura is correct in saying, "The Laundry is Never Finished."

But I can pretend it is when I set aside only one day per week to complete that task.  Once those loads are all done, I can say, "The laundry is done."  At least till the next week.

But dishes on the other hand, they are always dirty.  At least one.  Usually more.  No matter how hard I try to have a "clean" kitchen.  No matter how long I have stayed in that room clearing the counters of all evidence of meals, snacks, and the stray glass or two or five, it won't last beyond me exiting the door.


Someone always seems to be eating something.

Or drinking something.

Or wanting to bake this, or cook that.


I guess that between the laundry and the dishes, I have great job security!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Breaking the Law

I have learned that Newton's First Law applies to me.

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

If I sit and read, I just want to continue sitting and reading.

If I do the dishes that don't fit into the dishwasher after supper instead of waiting to do them in the morning, I want to continue to do that and keep the counters clean.

If I sit and read Facebook and email and blogs, I want to continue.

If I start raking the pile of leaves that was built last fall for jumping and was left all winter, I want to continue until it is all done and cleaned.

If I start the landscaping project(s), I want to keep going till it is done.

If I (and by that I mean David and I) paint one room, I think about the next room(s) I want to paint.

If I stay home day in and day out, I don't usually want to go anywhere.

If I go here and there, I think about the next place I can go.

But you know where that law doesn't work as easily?
Daily reading the Bible and praying.  That one I have to fight my apathetic self over and over and over again.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Birds of a Feather

Several years ago we hung bird feeders outside our dining room window.  It is so fun to see the different birds come to feed.

We (and by that I mean David and the boys) filled the feeders a couple of weeks ago.  We have one for goldfinches, one for hummingbirds, and one for various birds.

Those goldfinches are a riot.  We routinely have upwards of 20 swarming the feeders, fighting for their spot.  Not to mention chatting away at each other and bathing in the many puddles around the yard, both ours and the next-door neighbor's.  They eat all of the thistle seed in their feeder in one day.  The little ravenous things. No wonder my mom used 2 liter bottles for finch feeders when I was growing up.  I remember at least two or three on the tree in the side yard and just how many swarmed all over them.

A Baltimore Oriole was the first to find our hummingbird feeder.  A pair came actually.  Then David got out another feeder that a member of the congregation made for us.  It is the shape of church with a cross on top, all walls open.  On the center of the "floor" a jar lid is fastened.  I cleaned it up and put some grape jelly inside.  David hung it and now the orioles have found it too.  Fun!

We also saw a hummingbird come to the feeder.  My 4 year old niece was here and saw both the hummingbird and the oriole, not to mention all the "yellow' birds.  She thought it was quit neat.

Rose Breasted Grosbeaks have made visits to the feeder too. I haven't seen the Cardinals at the feeder much this year, but I have seen them flying around.  I also hear them.  I enjoy their calls!

Speaking of bird calls, they like to start bright and early!  The other morning David and I were awakened by them at 4 a.m..  I told him I laid there and wondered which bird was greeting us so early.  After some searching through my bird call cd's, I'm pretty sure it was a robin, or two.

That morning I also heard another call, a high pitched two tone, the first higher than the second.  It is almost like it says, "tweee-teee".  I didn't know what that was either, and forgot about it until I heard it later in the day. Once again I searched my field guide cd.  It was a Black-capped chickadee.  Now that I can identify that call, it is like a friend calling.

I want to try to identify more bird calls this summer.  My ears are becoming better tuned at listening first for the sounds of the various birds and second for their distinctive calls.

While eating dinner on the porch, Abby said, "What is that red bird over on the evergreen tree?"  We looked and saw a bright red bird with black wings.  I didn't ever recall seeing that bird before and neither had David.  Abby went and got the library book she checked out this week, "Backyard Birds" and found it right away.  It was a Scarlet Tanager.  It was so pretty.  We hope to see it again.

Maybe next time we get some bird seed we will buy some peanuts too.  I love to watch the Blue Jays squawk and fight and pick out just the right peanut.

My knowledge of birds is very small, but I can see why there are so many who like to go bird-watching.  It is really fun to spot them in trees and at feeders and by listening to their calls - even if it is your own yard!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Still Remember

I am remembering the best Mother's Day ever.   I've had other very nice Mother's Days.  But the one I had in 2012 will be tough to dethrone as the best.

Mother's Day 2012 began in Munich, Germany as we awoke, checked out of our hostel, and drove to Pfarramt Trinitatisgemeinde, a congregation of the Selbstandige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche (the German sister church of the LCMS) for church.  After the service, we drove to Salzburg, Austria and toured the Mozart sights.  Late that afternoon, we climbed into our VW Caravelle and settled in for the several hour drive to Reutte, Austria.

Already a wonderful, memorable, fun day, one that would be hard to top, but it was that evening that the award for "Best Mother's Day Ever" was achieved.  You can reread it here.  I'll wait.

(twiddles thumbs)

(answers the telephone)

(stares out the window as the wind whips the newly budding trees in all directions)

(answers a child's question)

Are you finished already?

Okay then, I can share with you pictures.

Yes I had said that I hadn't taken any pictures that day of that wonderfully delicious meal.  But we did go back to that restaurant on our last night in Reutte.  Not only did we take all the kids that time but also the camera.

The half-liter of milk that made Sam so happy
The most delicious steak with herbed butter and a big salad that made me so happy.
Side of garlic bread with the same herbed butter.

My Mother's Day heart given to me by my waitress on Mother's Day 2012.  Every time I see it I remember what a delightful day it was.

I kept telling the kids that what I wanted for this year's Mother's Day is to go back to this restaurant.

But no such luck.

Maybe next year? !

Friday, May 03, 2013

16, Snow, Sherlock, Dr. Who, and Books

Our daughter Ellie turned 16 in April.

Yes it snowed.

So her older sister did not attend classes, we did not attend piano lessons, and friends did not attend the birthday supper we planned.

But she and her siblings watched Dr. Who and had fun anyway.

Her birthday requests:

Breakfast:  Red Velvet Pancakes

Lunch: BLT's

Supper: Brats, boxed macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, Sprecher Cream Soda
Uncle Matt, Aunt Michele and cousins, plus Grandpa made it over for supper.

She also requested white cake which she wanted to bake and decorate herself.
Oh Sherlock, how you've captured her heart.

Her gifts:
I think she guessed by the wrapping that most would be books.

From Abby:
Grey nail polish and black roller pens

From Nathan and Sam:
Crime and Punishment

From Hannah:

Le Miserables

Milka Toffee Crunch

From Mom and Dad:
Anna Karenina
Blue Moleskin Notebook

Happy Happy Birthday my dear daughter!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Snow - Mountains - Memories

Today is May 1st.

It is snowing.

There is a white layer of thick white flakes on most things with patches of green grass showing here and there.  Although those green patches are disappearing along with the afternoon.

After my husband and I moaned and complained, I said, "I've never experienced snow in May before."

Then immediately I had to take it back.

I have experienced snow in May.  Just one year ago.


In Reutte, Austria.

Surrounded by the Alps and medieval castles.

I didn't complain that day.  Just oohed and awed over how beautiful it all was.

Today's snow is bringing back wonderful memories of the mountains.

And it is pretty outside my window.

But I would rather be experiencing snow in the Alps in May and not at home.