LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2014

What a wonderful weekend in beautiful Laguna Beach!  Don and I, along with Levi, set out early Friday morning.  Destination…The Sand Castle!  Suzanne and Adam joined us early evening.  I have just gotten a new vehicle and it has the built in DVD player.  Levi was all excited about watching ‘Frozen’ on the way to the beach!  Ironic, much?

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First job is to do a little cleaning up around the place.

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Checking out the dead bugs on the car…Oh, the things that fascinate little boys!!!

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Suzanne and Adam arrived and Levi took Adam straight to the dirt to play with his new car.

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Then a bucket load of rocks he found made their way into a delightful design on the front porch…all placed ‘just so’ by Levi.  I love how he curved it in two places!

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Wearing my favorite beach shirt, after his bath!

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Next morning, it’s off to the beach for Suzanne, Adam, Levi and Don.  I’m still having foot troubles, so under doctor’s orders to stay out of the sand.  “No fair!”  I sent my camera with them and instructed them all to make many, many pictures!  And, they did!

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Play time over…warm bath…and nap time!

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Adam and Suzanne decided to go out and eat…so Don and I took Levi out, too!

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Then, while I ‘people watched’…Levi and Don found some rides just fit for a little boy!  And, since I was not with them…no pics!

Morning came too quickly!  Time to clean up and pack up and head home to Dothan!

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And, though we were separated by about 300 miles…it made us happy to know that Ian and Tina and Jackson were spending fun time together.  They went to a ball game and then spent today at an arcade with skating and other fun!  Ian even had on skates!  Missed being together with them this weekend.  Was so hoping to get lots of love from sweet Jackson.  But, soon…

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Alex was not able to be with us either this weekend…and he was sorely missed, as well.  Joy and all her family went to the mountains and rented a cabin .  They have had a ball,too!

FAMILY…isn’t that just one of the sweetest words in our language?!

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So good-bye to summer….even though here in South Alabama, the heat will be with us till at least November!  We will certainly ready to feel a little ‘nip’ in the air!  Time to get out the pumpkins and the fall leaves and the scarecrows.  Here comes school days and football and festivals and heading straight into the wonderful seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

 

JOY IN THE JULY JOURNEY

DOTHAN…July 1, 2014

As soon as my foot was released from its hard cast prison after 5 weeks…I progressed to an air cast.  Told to wear it all the time, except to take a bath, I took that to mean that big ole bathtub in the backyard would be fine, as well.  And, first thing Tuesday morning, I donned my swim suit and carefully waded into the pool.  Soon I was joined by the two cutest little boys in town, along with their mother and aunt.  Oh, we had such a great time!  Following are some pics from the day.

 

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Loving my new camera!

 

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It make pics underwater!  And, it will not break if you drop it!  Camera heaven!  Everyone has had a ball using my camera to make these great pics in the pool.  Today is the first day that I got to use it.  However, these underwater pics are courtesy of Suzanne…I have to practice a little more!  It probably would help if I could open my eyes underwater! 🙂

LAGUNA BEACH…July 2-3,2014

Oh what fun Don and I had with Suzanne and Adam and Levi for 2 days…We crammed as much in as possible!

 

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Sweet Levi is not a fan of the ocean.  He likes to run in the sand,  and pick up shells, but does not want to touch the water.  However, he loves to swim.  A friend had told us about a wonderful public water park here in PCB.  It is the Frank Brown Recreational Complex on Back Beach Road…just past the ‘Y'” going toward PCB.  There is a website you can go to learn more info.  It is a fantastic park.  Plenty of playground equipment, picnic tables, fishing, and 2 wonderful pools.  One is dedicated for children, but parents are welcome to go in with their little ones…there are all sorts of climbing equipment and sprinklers and slides.  Such fun.  And very well kept up.  $8.00  adults…$5.00 kids.

LAGUNA BEACH/ PANAMA CITY BEACH…..July 11-14, 2014

Joy and I, along with Tara and Lori and John Thomas took a long week-end trip to the Sandcastle.  We all needed a little break from ‘real life’…and the beach seemed to be just what we needed.  We ate out and slept in.

 

 

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John Thomas and Tara and Lori took in Shipwreck Island, and Wonder Works…while Joy and I took our time on the couch and the front porch!  To each his own!  They all managed a trek down to the beach and some swimming in the ocean…my foot said,” Stay right where you are…on solid ground!”  And, so I did!

 

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John Thomas and I did a little painting.  He painted a ‘goldie fish’ to grace the walls of the SandCastle.

 

 

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Suzanne and Adam and Levi joined us for the day on Monday.  We all headed back over to the Recreational Complex I mentioned above and had a wonderful day, playing and eating and swimming…with lots of fun and laughter!

 

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DOTHAN…7/16/14

Today Levi stayed with Don and I for the day while his parents were busy.  First Pa cooked Levi his favorite, ‘baconeggs’…and then they went to ride the toys.  Finally, a little newspaper reading was in order while they cooled off! 20140716_094116-1

 

 

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Then I managed to snap some good close-ups of the little man while we played outside waiting for Suzanne to come!

 

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JULY 21-24, 2014

Officially, this isn’t on my list, because I was not there.  But, family was.  And, since this is my blog, I get to make the rules!  Love how that works out!  Anyway, Jackson and Tina were able to spend a few days at the Sand Castle.  Word from them was a great time was had, even amidst the rain.  There was still swimming and fun to be had.  And, fried crab claws, too!  I only wish i could have spent some of the time with them.  They are so dear to me!

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Today Suzanne started back to school…crazy, huh?  So I’m back to Levi and Lulu time!  It has been such a fun day.  But, boy is our schedule ever off!  We’ve got some work to do to get back in our groove! Don is out of town, so Levi said he could not eat ‘baconeggs’…so we had bananas, toast and blackberries.  He was too excited to eat, I think.  Cause he knew what I had promised him we would do when he came to stay again.  Paint! art-quoteHe had seen my paints out and had been wanting to paint and I kept putting him off…but today was the day!  First, he donned his new painting apron.  Look!  He wrote his own name!

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We started with the watercolors.  He did well for the first time.  It’s not easy to remember to dip the brush into water between each color…but he finally got it.

 

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I title the above finished painting…”Just A Little Brown”. ( The bottom pic in photo below).   After he had finished painting such a pretty mix of blues and greens, he looked at it and said, “Gotta put some brown right here.”  And, so he did.  Wonder what that thought process was.  Maybe he just has an artist’s eye!

 

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His second attempt turned out beautifully, I think.  I think it looks like wet cupcake sprinkles!  Don’t you just love how the colors blend in together…no matter what color is used? Next we moved on to fingerpaint.  He was not quite as sure about this.  After he realized it was just fine to get paint all over his hands, he began to enjoy it.  We eventually moved it to the floor.  And decided the best picture of all was Lulu and Levi’s hand prints all over an old towel!

 

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We decided then that the best way to celebrate our art was with a swim!  And even Uncle Alex and Finn joined us for a while!  Such a beautiful day to be in this glorious world created by the Master Designer!  After all that and a quick lunch, I was ready to rest.    I was just happy to put my feet up!  Well…at least this little man got some dream time in.

 

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And so ends our short journey through the month of July, 2014.  Could life be any sweeter?  God is just so good and gracious to our family.  All is not roses and candlelight…and we go through our tough times.  Things happen that we want to run from.  We are affected by circumstances that we have no control over.  We still deal with illness on a daily basis.  But through it all…God brings the joy!  We are not thankful FOR all things we go through…but we are thankful IN all things.  Because the only way you get to appreciate the joy…is to taste some of the bitter.  The promises of God are always true and always steadfast.  He will never fail.  Thank you God, for allowing me to know this in my heart of hearts!

 

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I LOVE A CROWN…

Last week, Levi came to stay with Don and me for the day.  We have missed having him here every week, as Suzanne is out of school.  Don cooked him his favorite, ‘Baconeggs’…one word…and toast and fruit.  They ate and then got busy.  First they had to fill the bird feeder.  Levi and I have 2 special birds that visit everyday…Mama and Daddy Redbird!  And, their food was getting low.

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Then Pa let him ride his tricycle down the lane for a little bit…even though he (Levi) was still in his pajamas!  He didn’t mind!  We didn’t either…just don’t tell Suzanne!  🙂  I couldn’t walk with them…this FOOT!

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After their workout, they decided to sit a spell and check the paper to see what was going on here in Dothan…not much.

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Pa had to leave for work, and Levi wanted to ride some more.  But, first, he had to take a potty break and get on some cooler clothes.  Even at 9 AM it was very humid and sticky outside.  I pulled up the rocker so I could watch him, and put out his barricade.  Our driveway has a steep slope to it…and once he gets past a certain point…there is no stopping till he gets to the lane!  And, since I couldn’t go after him…I gave him a stopping point before he hit the slope.  Then I sat back and watched.  He had such fun filling up the back of his train…which he is really too big for now…but he loves it the best… with leaves and pinestraw and rocks and bringing them to me and making a little pile of the most interesting things.

Why are these long?  (pine straw)

They stick together.  They pull apart.

Why is that leaf yellow?  Why you have no red flower? (hydrangeas will have to do)

What is that sound?  (weed eater)  What is that?  (garbage truck)  I hear music.  (wind chimes)

Big rock…little rock…WHY?

Is the sky blue today? (no it is sort of gray)  Why?  (because it is hiding some rain)

Rain and thunder?  Storm?  (maybe just some rain today) Welcome to summertime in the South, my boy!

We get wet?  (No, we will not)…but maybe we would if I did not have this cast on my leg…one day we will)

Oh the delightful mind of a three year old!

 “Stand still and consider the works of God.”     Job 37:14

 

He made a few more trips and then stopped to rest awhile right by my chair…so I took the opportunity to snap a few pics.  He wasn’t really in a smiling mood…obviously all this nature play had started his mind rolling!  I did manage to catch a few poses that brought some thoughts to mind as I looked back over them…

 

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A little boy is full of energy! What a joy that is! God has blessed him with a strong body and a strong will. It is important that he has plenty of time to run that energy off. Running and riding and playing and swinging and swimming…all so wonderful to build up his little body and mind to stay strong.

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There is a great big wonderful world that God made for him to explore. We must teach him some of the things we can do to take care of it. Watering the flowers, feeding the birds and taking the time to marvel at the size and colors of the leaves and rocks!

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”                 Nehemiah  9:6

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We must also work on his interpersonal skills. Children need to be taught to be obedient. We say, “OBEY…RIGHT AWAY!” Now he and I do not always see eye to eye on what is acceptable and necessary. But, this is where we have to bring in a little discipline. Usually TIME OUT works really well! Adam and Suzanne do such a good job raising him. He loves to attend church and gets excited retelling the Bible stories. We always look for those ‘teachable moments’ to teach him about respect and good manners and politeness.

My personal philosophy is this…God made this fantastic, wonderful world for us all.  He put so many things in it for us to delight in.  I still discover new things everyday.  Wonderful and amazing things.  It even can be overwhelming to me when I think of all I don’t know and wish I did.  And, how do I even know what else I’d like to know?  Even at 61, I want to know and see all that I can.  I want to experience things I have only heard of!  (Well, not everything…but some sound amazing!)  So just imagine how a little one feels thrust into this same big, wonderful world!  They have to learn to navigate it as well.  It is so much easier when you take it a little at a time.  But they do not know that.  And, jump with boundless energy from one thing to the next…overloading all the circuits!  We must teach them to slow down…take time to really see…really feel.  We must teach them the ‘rules’ for the best path through this life.  We need to teach them how easily doors can open with the right words and actions.  And, how quickly they can close to those who don’t appreciate how precious are our hearts and minds and feelings.  We must tell them that it is OK to travel over the same path several times if we are happy there…but there are so many other paths that lead to equally wonderful times.  How sad to not at least try.

(Like asparagus and beets…I tried them both.  And now I know I NEVER want to go down that path to their garden again…ever!  I will stay with my friends broccoli and fresh corn and sweet Slocomb tomatoes).

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Isn’t it amazing how we, as grandparents, have so much more patience than when we were raising our own?  I guess that is what is meant by all the things I hear people say about being grandparents…’you really haven’t known of love til you have a grandchild.’  Of course it’s the children…they are so adorable.   But so were yours and mine.  I think we enjoy them so much because we have time to be quiet and watch and discuss and explore.  And, wisdom!  We have so much more of it now, don’t we?  We can give them that most valuable commodity…time.

I find myself thinking back to when we were raising our 3 boys.  Oh how I wish I had taken more time in some areas.  Life gets so full and unexpected sometimes that the best you can do is just ‘get through it’.  But, I don’t think that’s what God intends.  How sad we come to this realization later than sooner.

 “Let us be concerned with one another in order to promote love and good deeds.”     Hebrews 10:24

 

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“Thank you God for this precious boy…and all the precious grandchildren those of us ‘of a certain age’  are blessed to love and guide and enjoy.  Thank you that we can play ‘Follow the Leader’ with them to some wonderful discoveries.  And, how blessed we are to watch them make others all on their own.  I, for one, continue to take your command to ‘train them up’ as a necessary part of my job as a Lulu.  And, I am so grateful for this precious gift you have placed in our lives.”

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged…”  Proverbs 17:6

 

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And, aren’t crowns just the most delightful of accessories?

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BLESSINGS, ANYWAY!

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I was really just trying to be funny.  And, now I feel guilty.  Because this is a wonderful, day!  My neice, Lori, and Suzanne and Levi all came to swim this morning.  I went outside to sit and watch for a while.  I love seeing Sweet Levi practicing his swimming and getting braver and more confident in the water.  To our surprise, Alex came out and said he wanted to get in for a while.

Those of you who know us know that this is a rare treat!  Usually he is not even well enough to get out of bed.  But, God granted us a beautiful day…blue sky, white clouds, little breeze…and He granted Alex the strength to enjoy it!  You can not even imagine how it makes my heart fill with joy to see him able to enjoy himself for a little while.  Of course, his buddy, Finn, will not leave his side…even if he is in the middle of the pool!  So, here comes Finn, too!  It is amazing how he never takes his gaze from Alex’s face!

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Lori helped him get in and down into the water, but once in…the limitations are gone!  He can move freely and without falling.  The bouyancy of the water supports him and he can swim and float and play.  Just enjoy the day!

Since I was only a ‘watcher’ today, I had brought my camera out with me to snap some pics.  Now, me and technology…even cameras…do not go well together.  This was my newest camera that I got when an unfortunate ‘accident’ happened to my last one at the beach.   When that occurred, Adam went with me to get another one.  He picked this one out and said that I would like it, because, ‘it would not break if dropped and would not die if it got wet’.    But, here’s the thing.  Every camera I have ever had immediately died when it was dropped…whether on a tile floor, a dirt and rock driveway, a sand dune, or a hardwood floor…or into a dishpan of water.  I have had much experience with cameras.

But, Alex, seeing the camera, and being in the water, said “Give me the camera, and I’ll make some pics of Levi under the water.”  (Well, he might as well have said, “Why don’tcha just throw your camara up against that brick wall?”)  “Oh, I don’t think that’s a good idea, Alex”, I countered.  “Mother, I told you it was water proof!  Besides, this is the most’ Tonja-proof’ camera Adam could find!”, he said.  “OK…but it’s coming out of your pocket if it drowns!”, I told him.

And, I hobbled and staggered over to the pool and handed it to him.  I cringed and closed my eyes and said a quick prayer….and wonder if I had totally lost all the good sense I once had. He snapped pics, and they played and Levi swam and Suzanne and Lori  and Alex and Levi laughed.  Finn would dive for toys and Levi tried to wash off his spots!   It was pure joy!  What a blessing for me to just sit and take it all in!  God is so good, friends.  Days can get weary and hard and unhappy things can happen.  But, right in the midst of it all…God comes in and just throws a big ball of HAPPY into the mix and things are seen in a much better perspective!

And, on top of that…Alex made some great pics…UNDERWATER!!!!

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“YEAH!  THE CAMERA IS FINE!!!!!

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Then, my sweet boy, Adam, graciously gave me some time on his day off to come over and get Finn to the Vet for me.  He was past due his shots and meds, and needed a good pedicure!  It is hard for me to get him there on a good day…but with this cast…would never happen!  Another blessing on this day.  Thank you, Adam for blessing me with your time and strength today.

 

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A WEED…TRULY?

When you encounter the everyday, the ordinary, the annoying…do you see it for what your eye beholds quickly?  Or do you stop and take in the glorious wonder that is the natural world?  Perhaps these few pictures will show you a different way of seeing this mundane little weed we yank out with a vengence and toss in the trash pile.

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If you truly look…

 

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