Transitions

I’ve been pondering the transitions we’ve been going through in the last months.

The first one that struck me recently was the day we completed our drive to Vermont.

In the morning, at the hotel in Putney, the children were rolling with laughter as Mom and I told stories of their childhood. They were the consumers of the stories.

That evening, at Cousin M’s play, Monkey and Buster were the ones spilling out the visions and ideas that were making us choke with laughter. The play was very funny, and some parts of it struck my crew just right for spinning tales and lines. I loved seeing their eyes sparkling with merriment.

They have become the storytellers.

And suddenly the Buster has grown up in varied ways. He likes to settle in with a book for bed now. He’s staying up later and later, taking a leaf from Monkey’s book. I went in to check on him last night and he was translating some verses from D & D books; focused, driven, intrigued. Monkey wandered in to settle down by him and investigate. I love to see their connections grow and change.

I offered to treat them to lunch at Costco on our regular grocery store trip this week, and Monkey suggested an alternative location, Crumb de la Crumb. A step up from Costco lunch, and it was delightful. Thanks to her suggestion, I now know I can make my Cuban over ice!

Iced Cuban ahead.

Iced Cuban ahead.

The choice to try somewhere different than the norm, I love that.

And yet, bless them, there are still plenty of reminders that we are still connected in fundamental ways.

Monkey was settled on the couch reading a book I recognized from long ago:

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A piece of her history.

A piece of her history.

My mom gave her that book when she was 4.

Love this face.

Love this face.

She doesn’t often read it anymore, but to see her settled in on the couch like she was visiting with an old friend, it warmed my soul.

Despite the long limbs, which in this picture make us look like some sort of alien bug family, my Buster still loves to snuggle:

Bug legs.

Bug legs.

That brings us to Yessa. Due to age, she hasn’t made the chasm-crossing leaps the other two have yet, but she continues to be the grounded, loving, hilarious, common-sense, no-cursing one of the whole lot of us. I don’t mind if she never changes. She’s awesome.

In going through videos, I found this one from Ireland that I still love to remember.

She was positive if I would just hurry up, she and I could make it to the end of the rainbow.

“Mama, come on. Is it gone yet?”

“Mommy, come on. Hurry!”

I love her faith.

Never lose that drive and vision, Yessa.

Little Mother’s Mother’s Day – 2016

Pulling together the pictures for L.M.’s slide show was an adventure in touring the world, our various homes, and everyone’s many haircuts over the years. L.M. has an ability to bring fun and action to each day. She’s gives selflessly to our children, both by sharing her hobbies and experience, and by being willing to dive into their interests and hobbies to learn about them.

When I see pictures of her wearing a tiara, playing video games, and having a pedicure, that shows how incredibly devoted she is to her grands.

Happy Mother’s Day, L.M. We love you and your spirit.

Babs’ Mother’s Day – 2016

To tell you what I love best about my mom would take a very long time. And it would go back to the very beginning of my memories, the countless shared moments frozen in my mind of the two of us, laughing, crying, being together. My mother has the most generous of spirits; giving me the very best of herself, both through my genes, but also in the day-to-day. She’s loving and naive and kind and an easy laugher. She’s loved Buds from the first time she met him, and she loves her children and grandchildren without boundaries and without judgement.

To sum up, we’d be happy to have her live with us so we could see her all the time; that says it all.

Happy Mother’s Day, Babs. We love you.

Nine Years Ago Today

One feature of google photos that I adore is their “assistant” who pulls up photos from years ago.

Nine years ago, we were on our first family trip to San Fransisco. Our second family trip was well reported in this blog here, and here, and here. In the beginning post about that trip, I elude to the trip nine years ago, but with google’s reminder of all the great pictures, here’s a true memory post.

It’s easy to tell which kid is which. We had a delightful trip. I can’t wait to go back there with the older crowd.

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Ready to board the streetcar.

Ready to board the streetcar.

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I love Monkey's face here.

I love Monkey’s face here.

Encased in marble.

Encased in marble.

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This sums up the joy of the trip.

This sums up the joy of the trip.

The New Kitchen

I’ll admit up front…that’s a trollish title.

This post isn’t about the newly remodeled kitchen. This post is about the make-shift kitchen we’ve been living with for a couple weeks. We’ll still be in it a few more weeks, but with Weston hooking up the new dishwasher today, and the new kitchen sink being all hooked up tomorrow, we’re getting an inkling of the joyful days ahead, so I wanted to celebrate this tiny little kitchen right now.

Buds and I both realized what a gift the trip to Italy was for helping us recognize how minimalist we really are comfortable being. This kitchen remodel has been a piece of cake. (I had one large moment of frustration today, but that was a tiny blip in the big scheme of things.)

We shoved our hearth room couches together to make a cozy living room area in front of the fire place, then put all the necessary kitchen items in the space that had previously been part of the living room. My friend, Lou Ann, told me her kitchen was out of commission for 6 months and they still ate 98% of their meals at home, so that has been my goal, to have food that can be made in a toaster oven, a microwave, a crock pot, or on the grill. It’s worked out very well so far.

Here’s the set up:

Tables, tables, tables.

Tables, tables, tables.

Brought the microwave back online for the remodel.

Brought the microwave back online for the remodel.

The bathroom has become the kitchen sink.

The bathroom has become the kitchen sink.

The two couches shoved close together.

The two couches shoved close together.

Shelf of the few dishes and glasses we've been using.

Shelf of the few dishes and glasses we’ve been using.

The other staples.

The other staples.

Coffee and tea still readily available.

Coffee and tea still readily available.

Incredibly organized cutlery and "knifes." :-)

Incredibly organized cutlery and “knifes.” 🙂

A view from the front entryway.

A view from the front entryway.

Obligatory Buds shirtless.

Obligatory Buds shirtless.

Grandma Stays Awhile

My mom, Grannie Babs, drove home from Vermont with us to stay for a couple weeks. We always love when we get her for a good long visit, and it was especially great to have her here during this timing because she got to share Buster’s birthday, plus Buds was headed out of town for work, and she would get to see the beginning of the great kitchen remodel.

She's always game for a game.

She’s always game for a game.

Waffles loved to snuggle close to her

Waffles loved to snuggle close to her

She wanted to learn how to make a photo book.

She wanted to learn how to make a photo book.

Yessa taught her with patience and skill.

Yessa taught her with patience and skill.

Always ready for a movie.

Always ready for a movie.

Always ready for a snuggle.

Always ready for a snuggle.

So loving and lovely.

So loving and lovely.

Mom was great about helping with projects and cleaning out the kitchen to get ready for the remodel. I was sorry she couldn’t stay long enough to see the finished kitchen, but next visit…

And Yessa even got her on the trampoline for a quick jump around. I was proud of her for giving it a shot.

Italy Trip – Lucca Farmhouse Wrap Up

A final post about the Lucca Farmhouse with the last few pictures I can’t stand to have lost to time.

Looks like meditation, actually CrossFit.

Looks like meditation, actually CrossFit.

The dreaded rings in action.

The dreaded rings in action.

Time together.

Time together.

More puzzles

More puzzles

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Ready to go.

Ready to go.

We're leaving at what time?!

We’re leaving at what time?!

This happy face...

This happy face…

Not sure what's happening here.

Not sure what’s happening here.

Or here...

Or here…

Cyclamens in the cemetery

Cyclamens in the cemetery

Dearly Departeds.

Dearly Departeds.

She killed him.

She killed him.

Now she loves him.

Now she loves him.

Sunrise from the porch.

Sunrise from the porch.

Of all the homes we had on our trip, this one was the most rustic, and coldest. I will gladly go back to Lucca someday, just not to the farmhouse.

But, oh, those views. It was worth the teeth chatters.

Italy Trip – Day 26’ish – Let’s Visit A Shell Of A Monastery

We could see it from our farmhouse. We knew there had to be a way to get there; an Italian monastery high on the hill above the farmhouse which the Germans had used as an observation point, and the Americans bombed.

Tough to see, but it's nestled in on that summit.

Tough to see, but it’s nestled in on that summit.

It took a lot of walking, a few twists and turns, a Buds with a GPS, and determination, but we made it, and it was worth it!

Up the hill we climb.

Up the hill we climb.

We can do it!

We can do it!

I think we're headed the right way.

I think we’re headed the right way.

It's this way!

It’s this way!

We made it!

We made it!

It was gorgeous:

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And the view was gorgeous:

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That’s our farmhouse in the picture above. Pretty amazing.

Italy Trip – Day 30’ish – Let’s Visit A Cemetery

Nonni and Poppi had discovered a cemetery within walking distance of the farmhouse, and one clear sunny day, while Buds worked, the children and I decided to go explore it.

Down our driveway we walked, talking and storytelling the whole way.

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Italy has beautifully decorated, lavish cemeteries. Electricity was run to each individual plot, and most of them had an electric light or candle of some sort, and a picture of the loved one, as well as fresh flowers or plants.

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There’s running water available, as well as trash receptacles to help keep everything clean.

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One last shot outside the gates. (All the cemeteries we visited were walled or fenced in.)

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And then we strolled home:

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Down the driveway to our gate.

Down the driveway to our gate.

Down the steep steps by the swimming pool.

Down the steep steps by the swimming pool.

It was a superb outing with some gorgeous views. And a very different field trip than we would ever take in the States.