Month in photos: July (aka: the Twix edition)

July 2016

Peanut was gone for summer visitation at her dad’s for the entire month of July so she is conspicuously absent in these photos. But Twix had a great July. From the pool to shucking and eating corn on the cob to playdates at the park, she didn’t want for entertainment.

True to form, July flew by with barely a blink of an eye. The temps turned off HOT with heat indices around 110F and the humidity so thick you could almost see the steam rising out of the ground. Because of all the rain we had in June, we rigged up wires running the length of the corn rows; effectively “sandwiching” the stalks between the wires to hold them up until the corn matured. We salvaged a fair amount of corn on the cob to eat for summer dinners. I’ve frozen 13 quarts, which isn’t going to be enough for winter, but it’s better than nothing. I’m going on 17 quarts of green beans canned and tucked away in the pantry plus another 9 pints that I pickled for The Recruiter. More fresh beans are in the frig for summer meals. Okra is coming fast and furious. I swear, you could stand in the garden and watch the stuff grow right before your eyes. Tomatoes got off to a rocky start but are ripening faster than they can be eaten.

All in all, the garden has been a success this year…but it’s been almost impossible to keep up with it this year along with all the work being done at The Recruiter’s new house. Reno continues with new paint, trim and floors. The kitchen has new appliances and some minor reconfiguration of a few cabinets.

Peanut came home yesterday and we’re all so thankful she’s back safe and sound. Just in time to get ready for school! She’s not too happy about missing out on most of the garden corn, but perhaps picking the thousands of cherry tomatoes that are ready will appease her this week. That….and some time in the pool with Papa.

I hope your month was full of summer fun.

 

July Photo Challenge: Photographer’s Choice

photo blog challenge

July’s prompt was our choice over at PJ’s A ‘lil HooHaa, and I chose Changes for the month’s theme. It seems our family has been in a state of flux for as long as I can remember. So, it seems fitting to have this month’s photo collection reflect the results of the past few years.

Changes #1
Our oldest daughter and family moved back into our house three years ago when her then-husband was discharged from the military and was going to college. If that wasn’t flux enough, she found herself as a single mom soon after Twix was born. Divorce and long-distance visitation schedules added to an already tenuous situation. A change in job opportunities has put her in a better financial position, and she recently bought a house for her and the grandbabykins. With the house came weeks of demo and reno, and she is hoping to move in to “her” place by the middle of August. We are excited for her, but I’m sure the change in our home dynamic will be met with mixed emotions.
new homeowner

Changes #2
What a difference a year makes. Last year, Twix was cautiously optimistic about the pool and everything that goes with it. This year, she is going underwater on her own and splashing Papa every chance she gets. Pool and Popsicle are synonymous words this summer. She has changed into quite the captivating two year old!
twix pool 2016

Changes #3
Peanut has been gone all summer to her father’s house for visitation. Changes…on steroids. Twix went for a couple of weeks and will build up to all summer in the next couple of years. That in itself is change enough, but having no Peanut around is a huge change for us. Peanut’s little corner of our home office sits empty…except when Twix is pilfering through its contents while she’s away. Add to all these changes that she will begin 2nd grade with a new house, new school and new friendship opportunities.
empty desk

Change #4
Our trip to Florida resulted in a change in the landscape around The Golfers’ home. Over the two weeks we were there, we transformed the front and back yards into something more in-keeping with their Florida, beach-y lifestyle.
yard crashsers

Changes #5
Yes, changes are coming to our home. For the past few years, we’ve grown very accustom to having the grandbabykins under our roof. It’s provided us a rare opportunity to create a special relationship with them. I know Peanut will remember the time she spent with us. We’ll continue to provide child-care for Twix during the work week until she goes to preschool, so there will still be time for her to form lasting memories. Even so, the changes that are coming will be bittersweet. But like the caterpillar that leaves its comfort zone to becomes something better, I’m sure these changes are for the best. Although life as we’ve known it the past few years will change….it will be an exciting, new time for everyone.
butterfly

Be sure to stop over at PJ’s tomorrow, July 30th, to see what others chose for their July theme.

Thinking about Christmas in July?

July quotography72

But here I am in July, and why am I thinking about Christmas pudding?
Probably because we always pine for what we do not have.
The winter seems cozy and romantic in the hell of summer,
but hot beaches and sunlight are what we yearn for all winter. 

~Joanna Franklin Bell,
Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski

Here we are in July; smack in the middle of summer. It’s hot here in the middle of land-locked Missouri….with the heat index some days in the triple digits. It was the same during our recent trip to Florida to see The Golfer. But somehow, it never seems quite as miserable when one is at the beach! Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Playing Quotography along with Kelley at The Road Goes Ever On

The month in photos: June

June 2016

How did it get so late so soon? 
Its night before its afternoon. 
December is here before its June. 
My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss 

So, add June to the list of months that sped by without slowing down. I’m getting a little tired of looking backwards at the calendar, wondering where the time went.

June began easy enough with pool time and popsicles with the grandbabykins. The Recruiter finalized the purchase of a house and interior demo began the day after signing. As with any older home, a few unexpected surprises have surfaced that was not anticipated. Welcome to home ownership! But, she is excited to finally be out of our lower level and can unpack all her “stuff.”

We anticipated a visit from The Golfer who flew in for our godson’s (her cousin’s) wedding…which provided a rare photo of all of us together. Peanut and Twix were super excited to see her and KW. Unfortunately, their visit lasted only four days.

We celebrated Dad’s Day with Entrepreneur’s family a week early since we were scheduled to take the grandbabykins to Alabama for their summer visit with their dad. Peanut’s visitation is supposed to last 6 weeks, but since Twix was only to stay two weeks, we drove on to Florida to see The Golfer again. Coincidentally, our stay coincided with some outdoor projects that needed to be done, and help with a junior golf camp. I ate entirely too much food during those two weeks and am now paying for it. Florida has some excellent restaurants!

So we’re back from traveling, sans one Peanut, and back into house reno mode again.

I did find time to get re-acquainted with my camera…now I just need time to do something with them.

I hope June was a good month for everyone. Can you believe the year is already half finished?! I should probably start thinking about Christmas shopping.😉

Participating with others over at Mona’s Picturesque and her Month in Photos.

Quotography: Freedom

Independence Day Eagle 72

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and
handed on for them to do the same.
~Ronald Reagan

Happy [official] Independence Day United States! Kelley’s prompt for Quotography this week is, appropriately, Freedom. Yesterday, I posted some interesting stats about our nation’s birth with a photo I took while on vacay in Florida last week. You can read it HERE.

Aside from our nation’s flag, the other symbol of our country is the bald eagle. Adopted by the Continental Congress in 1782, it was selected among other symbols but maybe not unanimously. It’s rumored Benjamin Franklin was opposed to the eagle, preferring the turkey as a more appropriate symbol.

So why an eagle to represent the freedom of the newly-formed nation?

Eagles have been used by many empires throughout history. Roman and Egyptian cultures used eagles in their banners. Native Americans thought eagles represented great power and eagle feathers were worn by many tribal chiefs to represent strength. Eagles appear in early Christian writings as a sign of hope and salvation. And, of course, in the Lord of the Rings, we all cheer when we see the “eagles are coming”!

But why?

The eagle commands the skies. It flies higher than all other birds….even turkey vultures. Its majestic appearance gives it an aura of courage and strength…as its sharp talons and beak suggest. An eagle’s vision is up to 8x keener than a human and it perches high to survey a wide view of everything below. This could also be why eagles are associated with visionaries.

Even if Ben Franklin had persuasive arguments for the turkey, I’m glad the eagle was chosen as our national symbol. On this day of celebration of our freedoms, I hope we all:

• Have courage to stand and defend our freedoms and liberties.
• Have strength to reach new heights and stretch our abilities.
• Remember that with great power comes great responsibility.
• View where we are in life and develop vision in order to soar to new heights.
• Perch high so we don’t miss opportunities that come our way.

And finally, I hope we all realize that, like the bald eagle in 1940, without serious effort to preserve our freedoms, we may be susceptible to extinction.

Playing Quotography along with Kelley at The Road Goes Ever On.

From sea to shining sea

from sea to shining sea 72

July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States. As with independence of any sort, it was born out of conflict and ended in a revolution from the status quo. Since I’ve been short on time, most of the rest of this post is taken from one done in 2013, titled American Independence by the Numbers….with a few current observations thrown in for good measure.

Let’s begin with an interesting Q&A on the streets. Spoiler alert: this is 6 minutes and 45 seconds of shocking answers to questions that should have been super simple for any American over the age of 16. Clueless would be an understatement to describe these poor souls…except for the last two interviewees who nailed it. And I wonder, has our education system failed so completely that most people are completely devoid of knowledge of the birth of our country? Or, do they just not care? Either way, it’s truly a sad state of affairs. And I also wonder, since they know so little about the events and circumstances surrounding why patriots fought so hard, would there be any desire to defend our country’s freedoms to that extent in the future if necessary. Or, would they simply roll over and surrender in oblivious and blind allegiance to any tyrannical group that tries to eliminate what our founding fathers/mothers fought so hard to obtain? Truly a head scratcher.

So, with that piece of misery out of the way, let’s review some basic American Revolutionary War history.

4.19.1775
The day the first shots were fired in our nation’s quest for independence from England. It happened that morning in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Do not fire on them unless they fire first, but if they want a war, let it begin here.
~American Captain Parker, Battle of Lexington

13
The number of colonies that fought in the Revolutionary War.
Yesterday the greatest question was decided… and a greater question perhaps never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.
~John Adams

217,000
The number of troops that were engaged in the fighting.
The die is now cast; the colonies must either submit or triumph…. we must not retreat.
~King George III, In a letter to Lord North, 1774

1,546
Number of military “engagements” during the war.
We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.
~Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

10
Age of the youngest members of the Continental Army, serving mainly as cooks and messengers.
The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
~Patrick Henry, 
speech at the Virginia Convention, 1775

4,435 or 6,824 (depending on the source)
The number of colonist casualties during the war.
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
~Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775

24,000 (Approx)
Total British casualties from battle and disease in the Revolutionary War.
I never saw such fighting, since God made me.
~Lord Charles Cornwallis, Battle of Guilford Court House 

1783
The year Great Britain acknowledged America’s independence with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The treaty established the nation’s northern boundary along the Canadian border and the western border as the Mississippi River.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~Thomas Jefferson

Our Founding Fathers risked everything to make their idealistic view of freedom from tyranny and oppression a reality. Their resulting actions were a burden on not only them, but their families as well. But they held firm to their beliefs, regardless of personal well-being and even death.

Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams

As we all celebrate Independence Day with picnics, fireworks, pie, ice cream and other festivities, may we always remember the great men and women who sacrificed, at great personal loss, to achieve the freedom we sometimes nonchalantly take for granted today. May we continue to preserve the rights and freedoms of this country for generations to come.

 A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy…While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader…If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
~Samuel Adams
I believe Sam spoke very true words, that are as applicable today as they were 200+ years ago. And, I’ll take this a step further and compare the recent Brexit vote as one where the British people took a stand not totally unlike those previous British subjects.
Freedom and independence is painful. It’s a gift many people in the world will never receive under their current government. It’s messy and complicated.
And totally worth it.
I wish every American a Happy Independence Day, and hope there is an opportunity to pause and reflect on both the blessings we have because of our freedoms, and the responsibilities we haven to preserve them.
Sharing today over at Lisa’s with Life Through the Lens.

June Photo Challenge: Baseball

photo blog challenge

Here we are again with PJ’s photo blogging challenge. June’s prompt was baseball….since PJ is a huge baseball fan! Unfortunately, I’m not a huge baseball fan, so this was a bit of a head-scratching exercise for me. On a side note, I like movies about baseball….Bull Duram, The Natural, A League of Their Own, Major League 1, Field of Dreams, Angels in the Outfield etc. ….but to sit at a baseball game is not my idea of a great time.

The caveat to the above statement is when one of our hometown teams is in the World Series playoffs or final games; then, I’m all in.

Since this prompt was difficult for me, and the month (like the last two) got away from me, I only got four shots. My apologies, but it’s the best I could do.

Baseball #1
This shot is an unconventional take on the game; an improvised game with a pool noodle and beach ball.pool baseball

Baseball #2
The Dollar Store is a plethora of items and a couple of them proved helpful for this month’s challenge. Probably not the highest quality balls or bases, but then what do you expect for $1?
dollar store

Baseball #3
A couple years ago, we bought The Recruiter a new purse. Her requested pattern. Her sister, The Golfer, has a matching one in a Cardinals motif.
royals purse

Baseball #4 and  possibly #5
While I don’t religiously follow our state’s baseball teams, I do get updates on my phone on their games. Since I live smack in the middle of the state of Missouri, I can claim both the Royals and the Cardinals as my team. Since these were two screen shots, I’m counting them as two entries….oh yes, I can.🙂
team updates

And that’s the end of the inning. Swing on over to PJ’s for more June baseball-related photos.