Thursday, August 27, 2009


Since the end of last spring we have had ants in our kitchen and eating area. On and off throughout the summer, I warred with these little buggers. We had weeks where they were a distant memory and then, they would reappear. I even got the kids so fired up, that their "alarms" would go off and the sounds of children screaming, "ANTS!" would sound through the house. Even Owen gets into it. I'd come around the corner to find them, nose to the ground, squishing these invaders to oblivion. (And then we washed our hands *wink*)

Although this is not a family pastime that I would like to continue, it has been a good way for us to fight off a common foe and see how we handle frustrating situations. I cleaned like a mad woman, even putting off breakfast one morning to practically hose down the kitchen. I was diligent in my efforts, but they seemed to always find some other avenue for finding miscellaneous food. My kitchen has never been cleaner, and yet, they come.

But these ants. In the midst of calling them an assortment of colorful names (in my head, of course), I began to admire them. They're tenacious, single-minded in their purpose, and are not swayed by the occasional obstacle. Heaven knows that I could use some of their stamina, drive and even flexibility.

What I don't need is their presence in my kitchen.

Who knew that a small insect held such deep insight?

Ps. I've used a variety of products, which work for a while. Now, I'm glad to say that having the Orkin man for a neighbor is good thing.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

My Dad turned 60 recently. A few months before that my Mom did the same. They also celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June of this year. Which means that they got married when they were 20 years old. Just like me.

In preparation for making their anniversary video I looked through hundreds of photos of them throughout the years. It was amazing. I began to see my parents in a different way. I saw photos of them goofing with other young newly married couples, taking cute new-baby pictures, growing as a family, and posing in many wonderful vacation spots.

And it looked familiar.

Not just because I was in some of the photos (and certainly I had a whoosh of memories because of them), but because it looked like my life. Even though I sometimes believe that they have no idea what I'm talking about, I was quickly reminded that....They lived it and they survived. True, many things have changed over time in the way of child-raising and marriage roles, but in it's essence, they lived the life I live now.

In a way, it encouraged me to seek out opportunities for them to revel in this next stage of their lives...grandparenting. Even though they have been grandparents for over 7 years now, I want this to be one of the more enjoyable times of their lives. I love seeing them with their grandkids. My dad is right there on the floor with them, rolling around, laughing, teasing, and makin' noise. My mom is sweet and affectionate to them, always ready to sit and read them a book that she's read a hundred times before.

It's great to see them leap into this stage. To see them embrace the joys and sorrows of seeing their own kids raise kids. To see them envision a bright future for our family, one that includes a whole lot more birthdays, anniveraries and celebrations.

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad. Here's to many more years together!

Ps. Here's a picture of the cake I made. Yes, I am loving my new cake pan and finding any excuse to use it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Garden Goodness

I came around the corner of the house and saw this:

Then the first words I thought of were these:

God is great. God is good. Now we thank him for this food.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Another birthday cake attempt...

Ellie turned five this week. Five. Years. Old. Kindergarten is on the horizon. School bus ride. Backpack filled with papers. Everyday. All day.

I have no real concerns for her as she starts this venture. Ellie is a spunky girl who knows her mind and what she likes. She has two brothers and she holds her own whenever the "love" they show her is beyond what a girl can handle. She makes friends easily and has an imagination that puts Dr. Suess to shame. I love so much about her, and I can't wait to see what this year brings. And although I've got mostly cliches to describe her at this moment, something tells me that she'll find some poetic words someday to tell stories about her mother made crazy cakes for birthdays every year.

I'm not sure what drives me to attempt these cakes. I'm not a very good baker, let alone a steady hand at anything remotely detail-oriented. I have little patience for most projects that don't have a definite result in a relatively short amount of time.

But maybe that's it.

It's a labor of love. It's a challenge for me. And I know they love it. I love the part where we snuggle up in a chair and discuss all the possibilities. How each idea represents a part of them, at this moment in time. When the idea is finally chosen, colors decided, frosting and cake mixes bought (oh yes, bought), I get to make something. Make something for them. Something that is all their own...before we cut it up and devour it's sugary goodness.

So here it is. The latest installment in the birthday cake making years. It's not perfect, but it's a cake made with love. And pink frosting. She'll love it.

Happy Birthday, Elle Belle.

Ps. Big thanks to Aub and Paul for finding this great cake pan at a garage sale and donating it to the cause.