More Prayers, Please!

I have mentioned here previously about my friend, Eunice and her tiny baby, Susanna. 

Yesterday,  Mark drove his mom to a doctor appointment. When this was done,  I asked Mark if I might be able to visit with Eunice.  We drove over to the Ronald McDonald House where Eunice is staying. I found her there and she invited me into her room to visit.

Through a miscommunication, Mark thought I was going to call when I was done visiting, whereas I had asked that he call me after about an hour and I would leave.  As it was, Mark was awaiting my call!  So, in the end, Eunice and I visited for about two and a half hours!

Mark finally did call and when several family members arrived,  I took my leave!  I had to wait a few minutes for Mark and the kids to come pick me up, so I walked around the Ronald McDonald House grounds a little.  This house is for parents and family to stay when a child is in the hospital.  Most of the children are in pretty serious condition and so the house offers a pretty setting, even though it is located in the city.

What a great alternative this house offers to parents.  It is much nicer than staying in an expensive hotel room and people may interract if they would like.  The house offers refrigerator space,  pantry space,  a cooking and baking area, and also a nice library.   Eunice told me they also offer dinners (food donated by local grocers and warehouse club) that are cooked by various churches and other organizations.  What a comfort to suffering families!

I ask that if you are inclined, please lift Eunice, Noah, Chris, and little Susanna up in your prayers!  Susanna happened to have surgery yesterday and although Eunice was told everything went well,  I know this is so stressful for the family.

On our way home, we saw some incredibly beautiful skies!

T’was a bit of a struggle photographing the sky through the rear window of the truck traveling about sixty miles per hour….using the camera on my cell phone!  Ah well, you get the idea!

A Visit to Genesee Country Village and Museum

Many years ago,  while living in Buffalo, New York,  I had a very dear friend by the name of Philip.  He was so much fun and Carly and I both enjoyed his company.  He was truly one of a kind and he introduced Carly and I to the wonderful world of bluegrass as well as other types of “fiddling”. So unique was this fellow, that he had only begun fiddling a short time when he entered a large county fair and took a prize!  It was he who told us about an awesome event that is held each August at the Genesee Country Village and Museum….namely, the Fiddler’s Fair. 

The Fiddler’s Fair usually falls within a few days of my birthday, (the third weekend in August) but this year, it was held the second weekend of August.  Carly and I enjoyed this fair so much that even though the memories of Philip have faded,  we do thank him for introducing us to this rich and amazing festival!

This year, Carly asked if we would like to meet at the fair, since she and Erin would be attending.  She had planned to meet up with one of her friends there as well. As it worked out,  we spent a very pleasant day just wandering about, taking in many lovely scenes while listening to pleasant strains!

I didn’t carry the Nikon camera around with me, simply because the weather was miserable at the beinning of our day.  The rain would drizzle down awhile, then stop.  This forced us to carry umbrellas and with everything else, I just wanted to skip as much “stuff” as possible!  After the weather decided to clear and be nice,  the humidity increased to the point where I just wanted to scream!  It was like living inside a terrarium….

I will just take you on a little tour of the grounds.  Enjoy!

Thank You for the Memories!

When I first began sanding the front porch,  I had to do some heavy duty work.  I began on the west side which is where the patio table and chair set normally sit.  Because the table and chairs act as protection, there was a great deal of stain to be removed.  The western end of the porch took forever (or, so it seems!) to sand.

As I worked my way across to the east, most of the sanding was just to “brighten” up the boards….they had been pretty well “self-sanded” by feet with gritty dirt and gravel!  Perhaps it was because I wasn’t concentrating so intensely upon the task at hand that my mind began to stray….

I remember when we built this house. Mark, my father, and my brother, Randy, were the main players in the build.  Mark and I designed the house and although he had second thoughts at first,  Mark went full-bore building every evening after work.  We were living in the city in a house he had purchased a few years before.  The house was in a neighborhood that was less than desirable for raising a family.  (When Mark bought the house, he had thought the great emphasis on city revitalization meant the area would be improving…Because home-ownership seemed so fantastic to a young twenty-something man,  he failed to notice that many of the homes surrounding his were rental properties.  This, unfortunately, meant there were a great number of drug dealings and the sordid accompanying activities involved surrounding his home at all hours of the day.  The year we moved to our new little home-in-the-woods, Mark’s dad told us there had been, *I think*, five shooting deaths within a two mile radius of our home in the city. One can thus understand my haste in moving from the city!)

When Mark became unsure of himself,  he would arrive home  a little later than usual in the evening,  arms loaded with books from the library!  It was so funny seeing him glean through the books and the light going off in his mind.  He would mainly look at the diagrams and his formal education as a mechanical engineer would kick in….he would smile and then advance to the task at hand.  In the end,  Mark became so enamored by the entire building process that he seriously thought he might one day enjoy becoming a general contractor!  (Having stated this, it was about five years after the completion of our home that he built our very large garage!)

After building the house in the Cape Cod style I had long dreamed about,  Mark decided that a fine country porch would be a very nice addition.  Before the outside of the house was finished,  Mark had begun the work on the porch. Although it “detracted” from the Cape Cod styling,  Mark convinced me this would be a good idea.  It turned out to be better than good. Maybe even great!

As I sanded yesterday, my mind was flooded with memories of little feet pattering across that porch.  The kids and I played, read, ate, and napped on that porch for many years.  That porch has been the site used for many celebrations and parties as well as a place to wind down after a hard day’s work.

I remember when Michelle was a toddler, we bought her a tiny wagon that had a handle at her shoulder height.  She could push the wagon as she walked and when Ben was born (she was two years and three month old) she insisted the new baby be placed in the wagon so she could take him for a walk.  Up and down the porch little Baby Ben would ride, compliments of Big Sister Michelle!

As the kids got a little bigger, we would snuggle in a blanket on the porch, reading books until I couldn’t read any more!  I remember when I told the kids to “get a book”, they would each return with several in their tiny hands. I never told them “no”, so we would spend endless hours, snuggling and reading.  They especially liked the fact that I would change my voice for the various characters in the books.  Ah, the memories.

I think the kids and I lived on that porch for their first four or five years before they graduated to playing in the woods.  On rainy days, however, they could indeed be found playing, once again, on the porch.

Well, I shan’t continue on rehashing old stories and memories.  Suffice it to say, the porch is a place that has hosted a good many times and has been a valuable asset to our family.  I certainly appreciate that porch and am glad Mark did have the foresight to include it when he did!

This morning, when I took the Scotties out,  I looked back at the porch.  I had turned on the  light to look at my sanding job and forgot to turn it back off.  As soon as the Scotties were back inside,  I went in and got my camera to show my readers just how “cozy” and inviting that porch is!

I spent about eight or nine hours, total, sanding the floor.  Not too bad.  I can’t stain today, as the weather report is calling for a slight chance of rain today.  The thought of rain splattering on the freshly stained floor does not appeal!

One thing I have resolved….I will never let that porch get so worn before I restain again!

Almost Done!

Yes, I am nearly finished sanding the dek on the front porch! I am so excited about this because when I *am* finished,  I will vacuum the surface and then I can apply the stain.   I sanded for about an hour the other day and today, I think I must have spent about four hours.  All I know is that my fingers and wrists looked like they were swollen from all the vibration!

Mark thinks I am going overboard,  but I decided to sand the entire floor so the stain will go on more evenly.  Mark wanted me to just sand off the most saturated spots, but I figured if  I was going to sand at all, I wanted it to look nice….not like Mickey Mouse did it!

Yesterday, our family met Carly and Erin at Genesee Country Village and Museum.  We had thought about going there for awhile, but just never had seemed to make the time.  The Fiddler’s Festival was held a week earlier than usual, so we decided to just meet Carly and have some fun.  As we drove toward our destination, we wondered if we made the right decision!  We drove through a huge cloudburst and it seemed like an endless gray sky above us. 

By the time we arrived at the museum,  the weather seemed to mellow out some.  We endured a couple of spritzes,  but it never did rain later in the day and the sun even came out.  Unfortunately, the rain had increased the humidity to the point that it was terribly hot! I got some photos, but I am too tired to post them tonight!

When we left the village yesterday, Erin asked if she could come and spend the night with us.  We said yes, and she was so excited.  We got home after seven, and I made a chicken dish and zucchini casserole.  We also had some garlic bread.  I washed dishes until I could no longer stand on my feet and then headed off to bed. Michelle and Erin had retreated to Michelle’s room.  Although Erin usually is in bed by her nine o’clock deadline, she threw caution to the wind and she and Michelle stayed up until midnight!

I ambled down the stairs at six to take the Scottie boys out and to feed them.  I figured I had better start making something good for breakfast so I pulled some apples out of the crisper drawer of the fridge and cored them.  I then filled them with oatmeal, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg blended in with butter.  I stuffed the apples and baked them until the insides kind of exploded!  They were so tasty!

The kids were in and out of the pool all day today, and I sanded away on the porch while they played.  I came into the house at eleven this morning and made spring rolls for lunch.  Afterward,  I was once again sanding.  I sanded until nearly three, but then had to stop so we could run Erin up to Victor where we met Carly to drop Erin off to go home.

Funny thing….last night as I was contemplating blogging,  I fell sound asleep with the laptop propped on my knees.  I awakened a couple of hours later with the laptop still on my knees!

Michelle called out to me last night to see what she found.  I looked and ran to get my camera….I am thinking this caterpillar is a swallowtail of some type…..

Well, early to bed, early to rise!  I don’t know when I have been so thrilled to think about going to bed!!!!

The Lost Episode

I have to admit that lately my blogging has been suffering a bit….what with all the crazed and frenzied activity at our house,  I often am so tired trudging up the stairs at night,  I wonder if I will make it!

As I was searching around my blog just now, I found this “lost” entry, dated July 23.  I just love these sky photos, so I will share them now!  Better late than never, right?

An Adventure Within an Adventure!

As I was getting ready to go pick up my friend Eunice’s mother-in-law yesterday,  Mark said that he thought he might like to drive us.  I was a little worried, because I was unsure exactly how many passengers we were going to have, but it all worked out perfectly!

We arrived to pick up Sarah Mae at 11:30.  She told me Eunice would want to stop on the way home at a grocery store we were going to be passing, so we stopped at Sarah Mae’s sister-in-law’s house to pick up her shopping list as well.  An observation I made yesterday was that these Amish women are very efficient and well-organized!

We arrived at the hospital and found Eunice sitting in a chair, holding tiny Baby Susanna against her chest.  I have never seen a baby so tiny (she weighs 2 pounds, 6 ounces) and she was just so very beautiful!  Everything about this wee baby was perfect!  Her ears, eyes, hands, feet, and full head of hair look so amazing!  I was  surprised to see that Susanna’s coloring is rosy and so healthy looking!

Eunice encouraged Sarah Mae and me to grab a chair so we could sit beside her and chat while she snuggled the little one against her.  Since the doctors and nurses convinced Eunice it would be good for her to go home for a few days to be with her family and friends,  she wanted to hold Susanna as long as she could before leaving.

We left the hospital shortly after 3:30 and had to stop by The Ronald McDonald House where Eunice and the two young girls who have been staying with her the past few days had a room.  They went inside to gather belongings and to clean the room before leaving.  Mark and I waited in the truck in the parking lot for a few minutes and then when they came out, we began the journey toward home.

Eunice was in good spirits and I was in awe of how well she seemed to be handling the fact that she would be entrusting the nurses and doctors with the care of her tiny one.  She was certainly looking forward to seeing her two-year-old son, Chris, though. 

We stopped at the grocery store and I went inside for a little while with the ladies, picking up a couple items Michelle had requested.  Eunice and Sarah Mae were so quickly cruising the aisles, getting the items on their lists.  Eunice grabbed several cans of pineapple juice, explaining to me that Sarah Mae had taught her the juice can be used in place of sugar. I left, allowing the ladies to concentrate on their shopping.

I went back into the store a little while later,  wondering if perhaps Eunice might need some help. Sarah Mae had already finished paying for her items and since this store doesn’t  automatically bag items,  the girls had found some boxes to fill with te goods.  I helped pack a box and then we headed out to the truck.  I was amazed when we actually loaded six boxes full of groceries into the back of the truck.

We were on our way once again and Mark plotted on GPS where each person lives….we had three stops to make.  Mark was following along on the GPS and we ended up on a road unfamiliar to the ladies.  Now, remember, we were in a pickup truck, which is wider than a typical automobile. 

The road we followed was narrow, but passible.  We giggled and laughed as we traveled along.  Suddenly, the road grew even more narrow and there was only gravel on the two sides where the tires pass over, with grass growing in the center.  I said, “Uh oh…looks like we are heading into someone’s camp!”   Eunice giggled and said she agreed!  Mark told us never to fear….he would have thought the same were it not for the GPS advising us that the road Eunice lives on was perpendicular to this road (goat path?) just a few hundred feet ahead!

We came to a large hill and the hilarity grew even more intense! By this time, the giggling had grown to full-blown laughter.  I turned and asked if the ladies ever had any drivers take them on an “adventure” before! Sarah Mae spontaneously roared, “This is a first!”

We made it down to the botom of the hill to find that Eunice’s house was only maybe half a mile down the road!  This caused another round of laughter and as we pulled into the driveway, Noah (Eunice’s husband) and Chris were out in front of the house, waiting!

We unloaded Eunice’s luggage and groceries and were ready to drop off the others.  Noah gave us some sweet corn and a huge zucchini from the garden before we left.  It was almost with some sadness when Sarah Mae and her daughter left the truck..

I asked Mark what he thought of the trip and he said he enjoyed it!  He couldn’t believe how happy the ladies and girls were.  We smiled as I said that I imagine there will be laughter aplenty amongst the Amish when Eunice and Sarah Mae tell friends and family about our most awesome “adventure”!

From our Camping Experience and Beyond

I definitely need to upload all the photos from my Nikon and be done with them!

In the meantime,  I will offer some photos from our time spent at Darien Lake State Park.  We have been staying at this park for Kingdom Bound for four years.  We were so surprised this year when we arrived.  While New Yorkers have been threatened with park closures due to financial woes,  this park has gotten quite the makeover!  There are nice paved roads leading to the campground and everything just looks so great!  The swimming area at the park was closed last year,but  this year the beach was alive with sun-worshippers!

The first night camping,  Michelle called for me to come have a look at Murphy.  My goodness, the laddie was having a wee nightcap!  As you can see,  poor little pitiful Murphy was not the least bit humored!

My Nikon camera sat idle in the camper most of the time we were at Kingdom Bound, as I just didn’t want to risk breaking anything while traipsing about. With the heat in “broil” mode,  some days I felt it was a great effort just to make myself move,  let alone carry the camera bag!  I did take a few walks with the Nikon and it got used then.

The day we returned, (last Friday) the kids went to a party at Penn Yan.  Mark and I drove around Keuka Lake a bit.  Keuka is one of the Finger Lakes and there are some beautiful views to be seen!  We parked the truck near the lake for awhile and it was so beautiful the way the sun’s rays filtered through the clouds,  creating golden tones of shimmering reflections on the lake below!

A few years ago, I bought some Calendula seeds to plant around the house in my gardens.  The sad fact is, the emerging little plants looked so “weedlike” ,  I yanked them all out!  Well, my parents brought all sorts of seeds last fall for me to plant.   I threw many Calendula seeds on top of the cedar mulch in front of the house, and sure enough, the plants grew!

How could anyone ever feel downhearted with those gorgeoussunny little faces staring up?

I think that does it with the photos I’ve been “hoarding”!

Oh Happy Day!!!!

Think of little Snoopy dancing about, gleefully, nose pointed straight up into the air. Yes,Snoopy would be doing the Happy Dance.  Well, I am too!

YES! The deep dark chocolate brown is now all done!

Now all that is left is the floor and the “doodads” on the poles!  All of the painting left to do should be a walk in the park.  I am so happy!

Tomorrow, I won’t be able to paint as I am going to be transporting some Amish ladies!  My friend’s mother-in-law is going up to see little Baby Susanna with me, then I am going to bring my friend, her mother-in-law, and two young girls back to their homes.  My friend has been in Rochester since the birth of her baby and the doctors and nurses advised her to take a little break by going back home for a few days.  She has a little boy who is two and I imagine he misses his mama, so it will be good for the whole family.  Please continue to pray for Susanna…she has such a long way to go to be out of the woods. Also pray for Eunice (Susanna’s mom) as she is being so strong, but she is going through some pretty hard times right now, worrying about her little tiny girl.