Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Time Passages

Today is my birthday and my plan is to sip coffee on the porch in my pjs until I feel like doing something else. Daughter2 is coming out for dinner and she might just find me on the porch sipping coffee in my pjs when she arrives.

I kid. I've never been that person who stays in their pjs all day. I might stay in my bathing suit all day, but definitely not my pjs.

When I'm through sipping coffee I have big plans to take my book and my raft and float beside the dock. Hubs will tie a line to the raft so I don't float away because I honestly plan to be that chill. We have road tripped over 1100 miles in the past ten days and I'm ready for a day of doing nothing.

The first stop on our road trip was Annapolis. We lived there once upon a time or was it only yesterday? Our house sat in a cozy little cul-de-sac where kids gathered in the middle of the street to ride big wheels and bicycles and slap hockey pucks with too big sticks.

Where they drew houses made of chalk and played flashlight tag as cicada sang their goodnight song. Where mothers walked to the bus stop and could be counted on to pick up a sick child from school if you were out of reach. A sweet safe place to be a kid.

It doesn't seem that long ago, yet there we were Saturday before last watching one of those littles walk down the aisle to her waiting groom.

Time slips by and you hardly notice until you notice.

Fifteen years ago we moved to England. We pulled out of that cul-de-sac in a hired car, tissue in hand, while our neighbors stood in the driveway and waved goodbye til we were out of sight. It was raining and there were tears, I do remember that. Some of them were mine.

What were we doing?

We didn't know exactly but we buckled in to our airplane seats and the next chapter of our lives and soared on into the future.  And these girls...

One already a Mrs. and a mama and one soon to be a Mrs.

Time presses on.

Hubs and I spent a few days with my mom on this most recent road trip. Something warm and familiar wraps itself around me as we pull into the drive. I marvel at the way I can walk through the front door and feel like I still live there. I pray I always remember the way home feels.

Technically I haven't called this place 'home' in some forty years. I know this for certain because I have a high school reunion happening next week. A reunion I won't be able to attend, but I do think about the number and the years and the friends all the same.

Forty years ago I graduated from high school? Can that be right? Didn't my soon-to-be Mrs. just graduate from high school? I guess not.

Time is funny.

Also bittersweet, slower than molasses, and faster than the speed of light. Mostly though, it's precious. Oh so very precious.

On my birthday I'll be grateful for the gift of another day. For girls who bloom where they're planted but keep their momma close in heart. For friends always near no matter how far the miles or years between. For family and home and memory.

For what's behind and what's ahead and all that glorious in between.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Birthdays Are For Blogging

Y'all. We have logged some miles this summer and I am not kidding. At some point I might try to calculate the actual number of miles, but we're currently busy logging more miles so math will have to wait.

We're once again mid-road trip, which wouldn't be a big deal except today is Daughter2's birthday and when I spoke to her on the phone this afternoon and told her I hadn't written a birthday blog post she said, 'I know... I checked first thing when I woke up.'  

Zing. Like an arrow right to the heart.

Her sister was here visiting the week prior and everyone agrees normal activity will be suspended when our favorite man cub is in town. Sometimes I think he recognizes how much his mama and his aunt mean to one another so he loves her extra extra.

Daughter1 and company eventually left town to attend a wedding one state over, and Daughter2 and her fiancĂ© spent the weekend with us at a different wedding in a different state. Then they flew back home and hubs and I got back in the car today en route to still another state.

Hence no birthday blog.

There should always be a birthday blog for this girl.

Secretly she was hoping somewhere along the way I'd have written something just for her because I'm her mother and mothers do their best to make birthday wishes come true. She told me last year when I thought about not mentioning her birthday here that reading my blog on her birthday was her most favorite thing, and those words ring in my ear more often than you might think.

How often are we mothers of grown up children told our words are very precious to them? I think that's one of the things I love best about my girl. She feels things deeply. She wears her heart on her sleeve and so often puts into words what I wish I could put into words.

Still she's had a nice day, most of it was spent celebrating with approximately 21 of her closest friends-ha! In other words, she taught kindergarten.

There were little voices singing out the happy birthday song. There were cupcakes eaten and wishes made. Blessings were counted, a calendar page turned.

Many miles away was a mother. A mother who thought all day about all the light and laughter this child has added to her life, keeps on adding to her life. About all the ways they are the same and all the ways she wishes she was a just little bit more like the child she birthed.

About how once upon a time a wailing newborn was placed in her arms and how that determined little blue-eyed beauty wrapped herself around the mama's heart and never let go.

About ties that bind no matter where we roam.

The miracle of life and family and love that grows in ways too wonderful for words.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hodgepodge Au Revoir

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger linking before you. That's the way we've always rolled here on Wednesday mornings.
From this Side of the Pond  
1. What has been the highlight of your summer so far?

Our summer has been positively jam packed so it's hard to choose just one highlight. If I have to pick I'll go with celebrating my grandson turning one. 

He's just the sweetest y'all. 

2. What do you wish you'd done more of this summer? Less of?

More of? Tuesday nights with hubs. If you don't know what I'm talking about read this post. 

Less of? Carbs-ha! 

3. Something you're looking forward to on your September calendar?

Lots of fun things on our September calendar, including my birthday (and you know how I feel about my birthday), but I'll say the wedding of a friend's daughter. Our girls grew up together in a little Maryland cul-de-sac and I'm excited to celebrate this special day with them. 

4. Best/favorite book you've read this summer?

Again with the 'just one' kind of question? A few I really enjoyed were The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different From Us by Jen Wilkin and The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home by Natalie Livingston

5. Share something positive, encouraging, or uplifting here.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I've decided to retire the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge. I've gone back and forth about it, but in the end feel the time has come. When I first started blogging weekly hops were a regular part of everyone's content, but now not so much. 

I will likely still do some Hodgepodge style posts from time to time, because let's be honest my whole blog is a bit of a hodgepodge, and I may add a link option to those type posts when I do. I'm kind of still figuring it all out, but I do know I'm ready to let go of the pressure to create, post, and manage weekly questions.  

I  have so enjoyed hosting this weekly link up and hope you'll continue to visit here and see what's new. Thank you for sharing your Wednesday mornings with me here on From This Side Of The Pond.

For anyone who may be interested Kate Motaung has posted 31-days of free write prompts for the month of October over on the Five Minute Friday blog. I'm planning to participate and hope to see some of you there.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 360

It's Baaaack. For today anyway. Here are the questions to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to share answers and celebrate the end of an era.

Okay, maybe not an era but I have been writing Hodgepodge questions for close to nine years now,  and have decided to call it a wrap. I'll have more to say about that tomorrow, but for now keep calm and Hodgepodge on.

1. What has been the highlight of your summer so far? (It's still summer people!)

2. What do you wish you'd done more of this summer? Less of?

3. Something you're looking forward to on your September calendar?

4. Best/favorite book you've read this summer?

5. Share something positive, encouraging, or uplifting here.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Lucky Thirteen

A bunch of random on a Thursday, thirteen randoms to be exact because I still like the sound of Thursday thirteen. Here we go-

1.  Consider this a Public Service Announcement: It's too early to be talking all things pumpkin.

2. Back to school clothes, #2 pencils, and apples maybe, but not pumpkins. It's still August!

3. It's fine to talk spring though because we have a wedding happening here in the spring.

4. I'm meeting the adorable bride-to-be at the dress shop later today to pick up her wedding dress. We are so ahead of the game this time round.

5. For the record, this is her first wedding. It is not my first time planning a wedding. Felt that needed clarifying-ha!

6. She's also going to try on veils today and I won't feel misty eyed at all.

7. Sometimes I lie.

8. I made this cinnamon roll coffee cake recently and it's a keeper (click here for the recipe).  It's not one of those cakes made with cinnamon rolls, but when you pull it from the oven it smells and tastes just like home made cinnamon rolls. This recipe is far less labor intensive than from scratch rolls. You're welcome.

9. Guess who's coming to see his Nana in a few days?

photo credit: his mama

10. I 'borrowed' this photo from his mama's Facebook page.

11. Sometimes I steal.

12. And for the record they will not need super cute bulky sweaters and flannel shirts in the Palmetto State in early September.

13. Because it's still summer!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tuesdays Were Made For This

Does anyone else feel like this summer is blowing by faster than most? Maybe it's because our calendar has been so full, but really? Labor Day weekend? Already?

Hubs and I declared last night date night as it was long overdue.

Tuesday night dates on the lake are easy breezy. Grab your swim suit (or not, teehee) and a towel, then load up the cooler with a bottle of bubbly and your favorite kind of easy to eat supper foods. Our favorites include peel and eat shrimp, a great cheese and some crackers to go with, veggies and hummus, grapes, plus an excellent bar of dark chocolate.

The lake on a Tuesday night is practically deserted. We made a short stop at the waterfall and ran into some neighbors there. The lake is a whole lot like a small town in all the best ways, and we rafted up with them for a while before moving on.

Eventually we made our way to a quiet cove (fyi-they're all pretty quiet on a Tuesday) with not a single solitary house/boat/person in sight, dropped the anchor and our worries, and went for a swim.

There's nothing like swimming in crystal clear water sixty five feet deep as the sun sets to make you feel all the feels.

We agree this should be an every Tuesday kind of thing.

Why isn't this an every Tuesday kind of thing?
Putting it on the list.

I love watching the sun get lower and lower on the horizon, but my favorite thing is the sky immediately after the sun sinks out of sight. That's when the sky turns all the pastel colors in the paintbox.

For reals.

 In the words of Dr. Seuss, '...when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing." 

Monday, August 20, 2018

In The Good Ole Summertime

It's Monday so how about a catch up post? That's pretty much been my summer blog theme, and hey! it's still summer so there ya go. Daughter2 will greet a new classroom full of students today, but it's the middle of August on the lake and we've got the humidity to prove it.

My sister and her hubs were in town all last week along with my twelve year old nephew and his best bud. They got a kick out of prepping the pork butt for the grill.

The weather was perfection every single day which was a good thing because these boys lived in the water. 

We tubed (and by we I mean they), we taught them to water ski (and by we I mean hubs and the brother-in-law taught them to ski)-

Also the skier pictured here is hubs. They might have taught the boys to ski, but they're not looking like this just yet-ha!

We hung out on one of the island beaches, took a sunset cruise, and motored all over the lake while the boys each had a turn at the wheel.

We played tag at the waterfall...

There were a few boats at the falls, but nothing like you see on a hot June or July weekend. Weekdays are where it's at.

Also it was hubs and the boys who played tag. My sister and I chillaxed on the boat.

It was fun to have a whole week to swim and boat after being away from it for three weeks. This is the last of our summertime company, but not the last of our summertime fun. Lots still on the calendar which is how we roll here on This Side Of The Pond.  Enjoy your Monday everyone! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It's a bit o' honey life

These early school starts mess with my head. Why do kids (and their teachers) go back to school in the middle of summer? It makes August feel so much less summery, don't you think?

Well it's still summer in my book and I've got the houseguests to prove it. My sister and her family are visiting and since they live up north it's still summer in their book too. Also, summer doesn't officially end for another month. More actually, so why must we always be in a hurry to get to the next good thing? Let's smell the roses here today, k?

Somebody celebrated a birthday while we were visiting the Evergreen State. Y'all. He is the sweetest little boy I've ever known and we absolutely could not love him more. He walks and talks and smiles all the live long day. He reaches up his arms for me to pick him up and our current favorite thing is when hubs says, "Rock n' Roll!" and the mancub does a little dance that is too cute for words.

Daughter1 planned a sweet little celebration with a few friends and the sun shone and he enjoyed his party. She wrote all about the party on her own blog (here) but I will mention this adorable banner she hung across her fireplace mantle.

His picture each month of this first year of his life. So precious!

While my daughter and her hubs were traveling hubs and I manned the store so to speak. We tried to take a little outing every day because busy busy busy one year old baby boys need a little outing every day. Whew!

One of our favorites was to a nearby nature preserve on a crystal clear afternoon. As an aside, the PNW is not known for its fabulous weather EXCEPT summertime.

Visit in the summertime and you find yourself thinking 'wow, I should live here'.

It rained buckets in sunny South Carolina while we were away but not a drop fell in Olympia which is where this little gem is situated. We walked the trail around the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and what a pretty spot!

We stopped to watch some heron play Go Fish...

We peeked through a duck blind...

We attempted binoculars which was really more about how they tasted than what you could see, but still...

Grandparenting helps me remember what it was like to be a young mom. 

Answer me this-why is a one year old better at the art of selfie taking than a grown woman? He is giving me a thumbs up here though. It's like he's saying, 'Yay Nana! We're both in the picture and that's something. Next time we'll work on your ridiculous facial expression and where to put your head in relation to the camera so it's not ginormous, but yay Nana!'

Of course before leaving town we did what all good grandparents do...

We gave him his very first taste of ice cream. If these pictures had sound you would hear mm-mm-mmm!

 Life is full of sweet things baby boy-

You most of all.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Trip Before This Trip

It has been a little nuttier than normal here this summer in terms of people coming and going and when I say people that includes us. We have had a lot of company, but we've also been company. Which is more fun? Hmmm...

I have another post or two about our trip to Washington, and while it might make sense to finish that up I feel like switching gears so strap in.

Let's bring everyone up to speed...hubs took a two week course all day/every day in mid-July and the day after that wrapped up Daughter2's future in-laws came to the lake for a visit. Also to handle some wedding details, but mostly just to visit. We had a wonderful time and are so grateful for the loving parents who raised our soon-to-be son-in-law. We're all just a little bit excited for spring to roll around, but first! Kentucky-

The day after our guests left we drove to Kentucky to spend a few days with friends who have a lake house there. Yes, we left our lake house and went to their lake house, but that's what friends do.

Lake living y'all. Go get you some.

Anyway these friends only live part time at the lake and that part time is summer so that's when we needed to visit. Plus there was bourbon.

I don't particularly care for bourbon, but hubs is a fan and I like a road trip, seeing old friends,  and learning new things so win win.

We had a pretty day of driving through some lovely countryside and arrived at their house late afternoon. We used to eat Indian food together back when we all lived in the UK, so the Mr. had prepared for us the most delicious curry which made us feel a teensy bit nostalgic for English village life.

We had picture perfect weather and struck out for our first stop on the 'Bourbon Trail' the next morning. I don't know what I was expecting, but I don't think I realized how enormous these operations are.

We started at Wild Turkey where we hopped on a little bus for a tour of their operating facilities. So interesting! Plus, our tour guide was a retired Marine Corps Drill Sergeant who had not lost his voice and was a lot of fun.

Once the tour ended we were returned to the visitors center for a tasting and some shopping and a photograph of this famous bridge that people bungee off of 'for fun'. Pass the bourbon please.

The company that runs it is appropriately named Vertigo. This bridge is 240 feet above the Kentucky River and the highest bridge in North America you can 'legally' jump from. I guess there are people illegally jumping from higher bridges?

Let's get back on the Bourbon Trail.

We had lunch at a cute little place in the town of Lawrenceburg called Heavens To Betsy, then drove out to Woodford Reserve. We rode through some really pretty countryside, past several horse farms, and then onto the gorgeous property that is Woodford.

Again we hopped on a little bus for their tour and while there was some overlap in the information each tour also taught us a little something new too. I enjoyed seeing the bottling in action here-

There are restrictions as to how much they can serve you in a tasting and I was more about the chocolate anyway, but still it was such an interesting day. Of course the weather was perfection which always helps.

We had dinner at the lake house and afterward the guys went fishing. Hubs caught a nice sized fish which was the perfect ending to a pretty perfect day.

We were up and at 'em early the next morning for Day 2 on the trail...next stop-Buffalo Trace.

This was my favorite because they are doing a lot of renovations and we got something like a backlot tour here and saw some different things.

Buffalo Trace is the oldest continually operating Distillery in America, and even remained open for 'medicinal' purposes during Prohibition.

After the tour there was the tasting and the shopping and then on to lunch. We ate at a tiny spot in Frankfort called Rick's White Light Diner which has been featured on the show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

The food is Cajun and delicious and we sat in the little courtyard outside to eat our lunch. Rick came out towards the end of our meal and talked with us for a long while which was interesting. Then it was back to the lake where we girls floated while the guys went and shot clay pigeons or skeet or some such thing.

We were on the road bright and early Thursday morning and got home in time to do a little laundry, unpack our suitcases then repack our suitcases, and head to the airport really really early Friday morning for our flight to Seattle.

As summer rolls along I'm thankful for family and friends who come to us, for friends who say hey, come to us. For blue skies, sunshine, rolling hills, tall trees, lake life, city life, new experiences, old friends, planes, boats and automobiles, and the hubs by my side who makes me laugh and lets me nap when he senses I might teeter from all the things.

It has been a crazy beautiful busy summer and we're not done yet.