I was upstairs heading to the bathroom in the very early evening. Like, very early, just after dinner. I happened to pass by Ashley's room and saw mounds of pillows and bedding, but no Ashley. It was a funny sight so I headed downstairs to get my camera.
I snuck back upstairs and peered over the pillows and took a picture. Surely, she heard me.
But, she was ignoring me. Her book was too good to pay attention to some lowly family member prowling around her room.
I hopped onto her bed. That got a smile out of her, but she still stuck to her book. She wasn't going to actually leave the written page to look at me.
I can't remember what I said, but you can be sure it was tremendously funny. I am that kind of mother. That is, when I'm not asking her to please sweep and swiffer the kitchen floor.
Hello, baby. Thanks for the attention. You can go back to reading your book. I will stop pestering you. For now.
This is the book she is enraptured by at the moment. It's the last in a series. I haven't read them. Please oh please tell me they are appropriate for a 15 yr. old. I can't keep up on all the books she reads. I used to try, but I give up. I can barely get my book club book read each month. Second thought, don't tell me. Ignorance is bliss. At least, in this case.
My son Elliot just bought his very first car. It's a Honda Civic, red, and a stick shift. I wasn't too thrilled about the stick shift part, but by golly, he's got it down already.
He owned this car for two days, learned how to drive it, and then promptly left for a different state (near Chicago) for a concert with two buddies. I just love this letting go process. I'm sooo good at it. As a parent of a 19 year old, you can strongly suggest, but you can't really say "you can't take your new car". He did call and say they made it to their hotel, which was thoughtful since we forgot to make him promise to do so.
When I asked if I could take pictures of him in his new car, he said, "this isn't going to show up on your blog, is it?" Nooooo. He never checks my blog, I'm pretty sure, so keep this on the low down. :o)
It even has a sun roof. Raise your hand if you think that's cool.
It's going to be very handy for him to have his own vehicle and not share ours.
A nice clean interior.
I might have to re-learn how to drive a stick just so I can have the pleasure of asking him to borrow his car for a change. Heh heh.
That would be us this time. The relatives who drove lots and lots of hours to visit relatives far far away. I finally bought this book for my in-laws a few years back because it reminded me so much of our family and all the long distance visits we've had back and forth. When our kids were small, I couldn't read this without choking up a bit. Wonderful illustrations, too. Oops, looks like I left out the T on the word The. This book is a must for any home library.
On Saturday night, all the relatives poured over for a big backyard barbeque. Hamburgers with all the fixin's were the main attraction, but there were many side dishes including my mother-in-law, Lorraine's, potato salad. She uses fresh dill growing in her garden and adds diced dill pickles. Oh my it's good.
I whipped up the salad I've been making 49 times this summer (maybe not that many), Ina Garten's Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad. Thanks for the idea, Kristi! It's a winner.
Ashley and I tried to wear skirts the whole time (we are listening to your wise advice, Tracy!).
A close up of Ashley's skirt. Target, people. Yes, Target. Cuter than cute.
Four cousins on a bench. The 3 dark haired folks are cousins, the light haired gal is married to the cousin on the far right (in green). It's so good to reconnect with extended family.
Derrick's mom, Lorraine, cousin Diane, and Derrick.
Three golfers have time to chat. Longtime friend Herb, Uncle Vince (Lorraine's brother), and Gramps. And, there will be a quiz on these names later.
Oh so many people on the deck. And, not everyone could make it. Some were gone camping, others were occupied with other things.
Lots of visiting and catching up going on.
A few are moving down to the fire pit where the evening will finish off. Friend Herb, Derrick, and Elliot.
A view from the yard.
Derrick talking to his beloved Aunt Veronica. He was very close to her when he was a youngster. She is the youngest daughter of a family of 7, Derrick's mom's siblings. She used to babysit him her fair share. Poor Veronica. :o)
We hugged every single one of those folks on the deck. That's why I started with the book The Relatives Came because they talk about all the hugging you have to do. It's a lot of hugging.
Forgive me for all the blurry pictures about to come up next. All of a sudden lots of dancing broke out and no one stood still. This is Ashley, Aunt Veronica, and Aunt Marci (married to Uncle Vince). I felt it was worthwhile to include the blurry dancing photos. Please forgive.
Veronica & Ashley gettin' their groove on.
Cousin Diane Houle dancing with Aunt Veronica (Osika) Park. Somehow, Veronica was behind all the dancing. No wonder Derrick adored her as a child. She is Fun.
In fact, she wouldn't let anyone pass through the breezeway without grabbing them for a dance. Two sisters laugh together. This is Derrick's mom, Lorraine. Grandma Houle to my kids.
Lots of hugging and kissing ensued. See the book The Relatives Came. It was just like that!
Very funny when Veronica caught our tall shy boy, Alex, and made him dance before he could enter the house. Poor fella. Nah, it was good for him. He even smiled.
Ethan was like, "what?" Somehow he made it through without having to dance. Whew. That was a close one.
Time for a fire.
A perfect ending to the evening. You can't put a price on catching up with all those relatives.
I had the wonderful pleasure tonight of reading on my backyard patio. The weather was perfect.
I lit a candle in the artistic gift of a friend, purchased from Art in the Park because I couldn't attend.
False sunflower (heliopsis) is blooming like crazy.
Our yard is looking good after a fresh mow.
I lit a couple candles and enjoyed the warm glow they created.
I am reading The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. She is the author of The Tale of Despereaux, which a couple of my kids have read and enjoyed. It's been highly recommended to me, but I still haven't read it.
But, this afternoon, I really tucked into The Magician's Elephant. It's our next book club pick and I have to be finished in a couple of days. The darkness came upon me. I had to retreat inside. I need to make a point to spend as much time on my patio as possible. It was a quiet and relaxing evening.
I am happy to report that upon returning home from our trip to Saskatoon, I found that my flowers not only survived, but thrived. Yippee! A big thank you to all the lovely water girls: Ann, my Mom, and mostly Barbara! And, they all did, indeed, receive their Saskatoon berry jam, in case you were wondering. With all the rain we've had this summer, plus new garden soil (the soil made the biggest difference!), my flowers have never looked better.
The day before we left, the very first coneflower opened and I was afraid I would miss them. Nope. They are just gorgeous right now and have moved to the top of my list of favorite flowers (at the moment).
White coneflower (echinacea) right next to red bee balm (monarda) and yellow false sunflower (heliopsis). I'm lovin' it.
The purple coneflower is blooming too.
I love how the petals slope downward. I do love the purple...
...but right now the white is taking my breath away. What's the deal with me and white flowers lately? I don't know, but they sure are showy.
I know I've posted too many pictures of my nasturium plant, but I had to show you how much it's grown. It's still as healthy as ever and reaching toward the ground. I will keep planting these for years to come.
The balloon flower is in full bloom and is just striking.
Coriopsis. This plant blooms for a long period of time. So feathery and pretty.
Dipladenia. Mandevilla's cousin. Actually, not sure about that, but they look a lot alike. They must be related somehow.
The pot of mini cosmos has gone crazy. I love this flower. It needs a really sunny spot and will fill out and bloom all summer. The colors are so intense and the petals are adorable.
Geraniums and nemesia are doing just fine.
This pot was doing okay when I left, but it has filled out and is looking much better now. And, the morning glory is growing by leaps and bounds. I have morning glories tucked into a few different places in my yard.
I'm not a huge petunia lover, but I do enjoy the explosion of color they add. I have certain colors that I like more than others. Plus, they usually come in a 4 or 6 pack, which makes them very economical.
I am partial to the pale lavender colored petunia. I forget the exact name of it and it's dark outside and I'm not running out there. Sorry. That color seems so unpetunia-like. Did I mention that I view petunias as "old lady flowers"? At 42, to some I might seem like an old lady. I can guarantee that I am a very young lady and still feel too young for petunias. However, the color factor and the price factor draw me to them sometimes. So there.
This plant is a type of heliopsis called "Lorraine Sunshine". How perfect because my mother-in-love is named Lorraine. I enjoy the varigated foliage as well as the sunny yellow flower.
My spiky liatris just started blooming. Nice tall addition to any flower bed. Loved by bees everywhere.
I forget the name of this rose bush. It's not looking all that full, but the few blooms it has produced are beautiful.
This rose is called Morden Blush. I think this photo might be my favorite out of the bunch. I still love my Canon Power Shot camera. And, I wish someone would pay me for saying that. ;o)
It's good to be home. I didn't miss a thing (in the flower world). I missed Art in the Park, which still bugs me, but what's a girl to do? Thanks again to the fine women that kept things rolling around here while I was gone. I am ever grateful.
P.S. Happy Birthday today to my dear friend, Gwenn!