Let The Gardening Begin…

Anyone who lives in Washington knows that we pretty much skipped spring this year. We have been drenched in rain for months. Finally….yesterday was dry enough to do a little planting in our garden. I was beginning to wonder if we would even get to have a garden this year.

My son, Jeffrey, was not giving up on gardening this year. He took over my garden window in the kitchen a few weeks ago and began planting all sorts of seeds. He started out small and has continued to re-plant the “starts” as they have grown bigger. Two days ago I came home to find my window full of canning jars filled with dirt and plants. He used his creativity and made miniature greenhouses over all the pepper plants by turning my vases over. I must admit that I was impressed with his ingenuity.

Here are just a few of the plants Jeffrey has started in my window…

tomato, kohlrabi, broccoli and more...

You can see his creative nature with these miniature greenhouses he made out of my vases…

Jeffrey pulled out old canning jars and vases to house his budding plants as they continue to grow.

Yesterday we spent some time planting tomatoes, zucchini, kiwi, lettuce and spinach. Here are a few photos of our work…

Here is just one of the tomato plants we planted yesterday…

Just one of our new tomato plants.

We decided that after being overwhelmed with zucchini last year one plant was all we needed this year. Here is our one and only zucchini plant…

Our one and only zucchini plant. One is definitely enough...

Jeffrey has been begging me to plant kiwi for the past two years. I finally gave in and we bought a self-fertile kiwi plant this year…

Our freshly planted self-fertile kiwi plant.

After planting a few things in our garden I decided to take a tour around the yard to see what else was blooming. Here is what I found…

The lilac’s are now in full bloom…

The lilac's are in full bloom around the yard.

The Rhododendron plants are blooming in a variety of colors…

The yard is bursting with color from all the various rhododendron plants.

I love this pink one near the bleeding hearts…

I love the various shades of pink in this corner of the yard.

This read one provides a burst of bright color to the landscape…

I love the vibrant red of this one.

I’m not sure what this plant is but I think it might be an azalea…

What do you think? Is this an azalea?

The hosta’s are full and provide a burst of color to the landscape…

I love the placement of this one. It really adds a burst of color to this spot.

I’m finding more hosta’s popping up in various places, like this one…

I'm finding these popping up in various places around the yard. I love hosta's!

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that these “unknown” flowers growing on the deck are lilies of some sort. I’m sure they will provide a burst of color to the deck any day now…

I'm pretty sure these are lilies. I'll have to wait until they bloom to see what color...

The clematis is growing fast and beginning to cover the arbor near the front door…

There are two clematis growing on this arbor, one on each side. I just cut them back last month and they are growing like crazy now.

I’m just waiting for my bright yellow day lilies to bloom, they need a little more time but they’re getting there…

These should hopefully add a burst of color to the front of the house between the garage doors. They are a bright yellow when in full bloom.

I discovered Iris’s growing throughout the front yard. They look as though they will burst open any day…

I love the single tulip in this photo. It is the only one I've found in the yard with the varigated red & white. You can see the iris surrounding it. They are getting ready to bloom any day now.

What have you planted this year? Have you started to garden yet? I’m dying to plant more in our vegetable garden and hope the weather improves soon so we can. Even though it feels like we’ve skipped spring altogether, because of the weather, it is nice to see that the plants continue to bloom throughout the season (in spite of all the rain).

Just A Few Of My Favorite Posts…What Are Yours?

Being in a reflective mood tonight I thought this photo of Mount Rainier captured my mood perfectly. I love this mountain and am always thrilled when the skies are clear and I can see it in the distance.

I have seriously been slacking in my daily blog posts the past few weeks. No, I’ve not forgotten about my blog, I’ve just been busy or sick. I was thinking this past week about the many posts I’ve written since beginning my blog in January. Here are a few of my favorites so far…

Running at Night Changed My Life – This was one of my early posts and still remains one of my favorites. In this post I share some very personal feelings about a difficult time in my life. What I love about this one is the important lessons I learned and how having a true friend can really make a huge difference in overcoming challenges. This post shares a “turning point” for me in the healing process while grieving the loss of my brother. Much of what I learned during that time helped me immensely as I grew older and experienced other challenges in life. It shows how  ONE PERSON REALLY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the life of another. You can click here to read the entire post.

Cabins, Caves & Sand Dunes- Will I Survive? – This post highlights the joys of childhood as I reflect on a summer day in my youth. I grew up in what I would consider one of the best times to be a child. Summer days were spent exploring nature, playing with friends and letting our imaginations entertain us! Life was great. I wish every child could experience days like the one I share here. You can click here to read the entire post.

18 Candles, Soft Music & A Hot Bath – I love this post because it reminds me of how thoughtful my husband is. This single act of kindness was so unexpected at the end of a long, tiring day. We were both exhausted, and yet he still thought of me and took the time to perform a simple act of kindness…one that literally took my breath away. It reminds me of our constant need to be thoughtful and kind, to think of others before ourselves. It reminds me to ask myself, “What can I do to brighten someone’s day or lighten their load?” You can click here to read the entire post.

Speechless for the First Time – This is one of my more recent favorites. It is a rare thing for me to be speechless, and even more rare for me to be surprised. This experience took me by complete and utter surprise. It came at the end of a long, hard week and quite literally left me speechless. You can click here to read the entire post.

The Challenge – Are You With Me? – This particular post sent me on a journey of self-discovery. This was the “seed” that planted my desire to complete P90X. The journey was tough and filled with challenges. Each day I woke up sore, tired and in pain. In spite of feeling sore each day I realized what I was truly capable of. The program requires 6 days of INTENSE exercise. It took a lot of mental and physical commitment to complete this challenge. I learned a lot about myself during this time. You (my readers) were fabulous in providing encouragement along the way. This post was just the beginning of a marvelous journey. You can click here to read the entire post.

Of course there are many more posts that I have enjoyed writing, these are just a few of my favorites. What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Learning To Let Go

It was Saturday morning and I had just loaded up my trunk with all my son’s baseball gear for his game. As he and I climbed into the car and prepared to leave for his game I realized I had forgotten my cell phone in the house. I put the car in park as I prepared to go back inside to get it. My son, anxious to get to his game, said to me, “Mom, just forget about it, let’s go!” I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that he really meant it. He didn’t want to be late. I made the decision to just “forget about it” and we headed off to the game.

I must admit that while driving to the ball field a million thoughts ran through my head about all the possible things that could go wrong and I would be stuck without a phone to call anyone. By the time we finally reached the ball field and unpacked all his gear and mine (chair, blanket etc.) I had accepted the fact that I would be phoneless for the next 2 hours. How would I ever survive?

In truth, I survived just fine. In fact, I enjoyed the game more than ever before. I was not interrupted by calls or text messages and it was heavenly!

We live in a world where everyone is connected 24/7. We either have our cell phone handy or are keeping in touch via email, facebook, twitter or the many other sources of communication. While I am not complaining about the many avenues of “staying connected” I miss the days when life was simpler. The cell phone is one of my favorite ways to stay connected, however it also interrupts my life in so many ways.

Have you ever been talking to someone in person only to have them ask you to “hold on” for a minute while they take a phone call? How does it make you feel? We all do it. Whoever is calling always seems to be more important that those we are with. This has been one of my biggest frustrations with the cell phone. I have worked in an industry for 16 years that requires a lot of communication via phone. About 10 years ago I made the decision that when I was with a client I would not answer my cell phone. I prepared all of my clients that this was how I conducted my business. I respected and valued their time and would give them my undivided attention when we were together. I also explained to them that there may be times when they would get my voicemail because I would be with another client, whom I also showed respect for by not answering my phone when I was with them. While I am the first to admit that I’m not perfect, I truly made an effort to respect the time my clients were with me.

One of the areas that was more difficult to apply this rule was when I was with my family. While I did not answer the phone when I was with a client, I would answer a client call when I was with my family. This became a frustration for my husband and children. I struggled with the “need” to catch up on client calls while we were traveling to dinner or doing other activities together. It took quite a bit of time for me to truly understand the message that I was sending to my family, “They came after my clients.” This was not the message I wanted to send.

The solution that I finally found to work was that I would schedule time with my family. They were booked in my calendar as appointments, just like my clients. I tried to honor my time with them and respect my time with them. This worked wonderfully. When I would finally return calls it would be after my appointment (whether that was with my family or a client it was the same). This made a huge difference in our relationships. My family began to see that THEY were important to me and I would give them my undivided attention. I’ll admit that it was incredibly difficult, especially when I was in the middle of negotiating a sale. However, I knew that I had to do it.

When I entered the industry I’ve worked in for the past 16 years I realized pretty quickly that far too many sacrificed their families for the business. I made a decision never to do that. As business began to take off and snowball it carried me with it. Life and work got busier and busier. It was at the height of it all that I had to step back and say, “Whoa…slow down. What’s happening here?” My family was suffering from my crazy schedule and lack of attention. I had to do something and I had to do something fast. It was then that I put on the brakes and started investing more time and energy into my family. Thank goodness I did! They are everything to me.

Take a moment to evaluate your day today. How many times did you pick up the phone to answer a call when you were spending time with your family or friends? How do you think that made them feel? Sometimes we don’t realize what we’re doing. What messages are you sending to your family? Who’s more important in the eternal scope of things? You will be amazed at the difference when you finally give your family the respect and time they deserve.

Have we really become so attached to our cell phones that we neglect those we love? We have voicemail for a reason….so people can leave us messages. Don’t be afraid to use it. Have respect for your family and friends and then respect them for doing the same. It’s okay to unplug now and then. Learn to let go…

You may or may not agree with me on this one, but take it from someone who learned this the hard way. Show those you love that they ARE important to you by giving them the respect and time they deserve. Turn your phone off, put it on silent, or just leave it home every once in a while and give them your undivided attention. They’ll appreciate it and you might actually enjoy the break from your ringing cell phone too!

Two Weeks With My Own Personal Chef

Ryan & Jessica decided to use the leftover fondant from their previous cake to decorate this one.

I didn’t know it at the time, but with the arrival of my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter I also received the added gift of having my own personal chef for 2 weeks! My son-in-law loves to cook! For the past two weeks I have come home each day to the delicious smells of dinner cooking. As I would enter the house I could not only smell the food but hear the laughter and noise from the kitchen. It was fun to walk in to the kitchen to the sight of my daughter and son-in-law cooking. We were delighted each night with delicious meals and often a yummy treat as well!

Ryan has a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe that he must have baked up at least 4 times during the past two weeks. He has it memorized and loves to tease everyone that he will not divulge the recipe. The cookies are absolutely HEAVEN! Twice while he was here, my daughter helped him make delicious cakes from scratch and decorated them in fun ways.

These cookies are super soft and chewy and VERY delicious!

I realized early on that Ryan was fabulous with the grill. He loved to marinate meats and cook them on the grill. He even added grilled pineapple one night which was absolutely divine. I think my absolute favorite dinner was the chicken enchiladas. I don’t know what all he put in the sauce (he refused to tell me), but they were incredible. I think I could have eaten them every single night and been extremely happy. I must admit that my goal to “eat healthy” was severely challenged during the past two weeks. But hey…it’s only two weeks, right? I probably should have taken photos of all the fabulous meals but quite honestly, I forgot. Sorry.

I know that I have slacked on my daily posts over the past two weeks but I have been busy enjoying the company of my daughter and her family. I have spent much of my free time holding my granddaughter and visiting with family. The time has flown by so fast and I was sad to have to say goodbye this morning as they left to head back to their own home. I will always treasure the time we were able to spend with them. I’m already trying to figure out how I can squeeze in a trip to visit them this summer.

Ryan & Jessica made this delicious cake and then had the audacity to bring it to my sister's home where there were a ton of rival college fans! It was absolutely hilarious!!

On another note….Yesterday I finally went to the doctor and had him look at my leg (I injured it 3 weeks ago). It was as I had expected…a bad muscle injury. He said the type of injury I have, takes at least 6 full weeks of complete rest to heal. I guess that explains why I keep re-injuring it each week as I try to push myself. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I have to give my leg the full 6 weeks to recover. Since the injury is in my right leg I’m hoping that I can still do upper body workouts. I’m going to at least give it a try so I can get some exercise in. This was disheartening news but I know I need to follow the doctors orders so that I don’t make it worse.

Sisters are the BEST!

Sometimes you just need your sister. Tonight I came home to find my sister sitting on my couch holding my granddaughter. I was thrilled to see her and happy to share Ady with her. We enjoyed a fun evening with the family laughing and catching up on life. My sister has a talent for making people laugh and I always get in plenty of laughter when we are together. After everyone else went to bed we sat around and ate apples dipped in carmel and drank hot chocolate while we caught up on life.

It reminded me of old times. My sister and I had shared a room growing up and we used to stay up late talking about boys, school and life. We are much older now but still have just as much to talk about. We probably could have talked all night but knew she still had a long drive home ahead of her.  As I gave my sister a hug I was sad to see her go but at the same time happy that she had come.

Sometimes you just need to spend time with your sister and tonight was one of those nights. I am so grateful for both of my sisters and the wonderful friends that they are to me. They always seem to show up at just the right time. Tonight I am grateful for sisters, and daughters, as I was able to spend time with both!

What are you grateful for?

As Delicate As A Flower

My random photo’s of the day are of my granddaughter. She seems to be changing more each day. Today she looked so grown up sitting on the couch in her beautiful dress looking all pretty for her daddy’s birthday. She is only 10 weeks old and is so alert and curious about everything going on around her. She is quick to smile and her whole face lights up when she does. In these photo’s she is focusing on her mommy and daddy. She sure recognizes them and their voices.

Last night I offered to get up with her all night so my daughter could get a full nights sleep. I must say that even though I was tired this morning I loved every minute of it. She is so cute and fun, even in the middle of the night.

So pretty! I can't believe she actually sat up on the couch for so long. What a cutie!

In Spite Of The Rain Spring Is Still Here – I Have Proof!

Well, we’ve had a few good days but they have been few and far between. So far Spring has been pretty wet. I decided to venture out again today in the yard to see what new things are flowering. Here’s a sample of what I found.

I think the Flowering Cherry was one of my favorites today…

I love the delicate flowers on this tree!

The Crabapple blossoms are also beautiful and in full bloom…

These trees are full of blossoms!

I had to take a few photo’s of the Crabapple blossoms because they are in full bloom…

Full of blossoms!

The Lilac’s are finally beginning to bloom…

We have 3 Lilac's in the backyard and they are all beginning to bloom.

The Hosta’s are beginning to shoot forth their leaves…

The Hosta's are popping up in surprising places all over the yard.

Tulips are popping up every day in random places and beautiful colors…

Random Tulip

Here’s another Tulip shot…

These are near the front door.

And another…

I love the bright purple!

I love the delicate leaves on the Weeping Red Laceleaf Japanese Maple…

I love these trees!

The Rhododendron’s are a vibrant red color…

Bright Red Flowers!

Here are my mysterious flowers growing on the deck. I have no idea what they are yet…

It looks like 2 different flowers growing here. I have no idea what they are. Anyone know?

What have you seen blossom lately that’s your favorite?

Last Sunday, my daughter and I cut some of the many tulips growing around the yard and made this arrangement for my mom! It is so fun to have so many flowers in the yard to choose from!

Having fun with flowers!!