Friday, August 4, 2017

So Our Refrigerator Broke and...

...we lost all of our meat and dairy, but the blessing was that there was relatively little at the time.  So I thought..."It would be so nice to finally have a freezer in the kitchen again like most other people and while we're at it why don't we buy one that makes ice since the hook-up is already there."  This sounded like such a great idea, but nothing ever seems to go smoothly in our house so the nightmare began:

New refrigerator arrives and I think--"Great, now we just need to pull the plumbing connection back up into the kitchen, connect it to the fitting on the refrigerator, and turn on the water." Hahahahaha.....

Reality:  Plumbing connection has become so brittle that it immediately breaks so the big easy turns into a big plumbing project.

James was happy to help.  He got to help feed a new
 copper supply line down into the basement.
Once that was connected I thought--"Great, now we're in business."  Hahahahaha
Reality:  When turning on the water, the valve immediately broke due
to having become very brittle and corroded.  So...

James got to help Daddy with soldering on a new valve.
He was very excited about this since it involved using the torch.
I, of course, was concerned we were going to burn the house down.

Thank goodness for fire blankets!
The good news is we now have a functioning refrigerator with a 
freezer that makes ice, and I am so thankful!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Beginnings of a Landscaping project

This spring we decided that we would finally take care of some
landscaping that really needed attention.
Some of the shrubs have not appreciated the harsh
winters and were not doing very well.  Okay, I guess
they were mostly dead, so Kristin started digging them
out when she had a spare moment.

The area looked so much better when the two happy lilacs were left by themselves in the back.
We decided to leave the tulips alone until they had a chance to bloom this year.  Many of them wouldn't bloom anymore because they needed to be "lifted".  We will replant them in another location this fall.

Time to burn the dead bushes.  It's amazing how much
help arrives when it's time to burn something.  I guess I
should be glad that they are learning to do it safely at an 
early age.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wood Projects

Since Dad likes woodworking, the guys all get to learn woodworking whether they want to or not:)

Sometimes they even come up with a personally designed project to make like Matthew did with the jewelry box he made.

Helena and James got pretty enthusiastic about Matthew's 
project when they discovered that glitter was involved--
Helena because it seemed a lot like crafting, and James
because he knows Mom doesn't like glitter but can't figure out why.

Pocket holes make the project go together so much easier.  It's also much more fun when you get to use Dad's power tools!

Hopefully Benjamin will be done with the final assembly
soon and then he can get it all painted.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Very Belated Matthew Birthday

So....Matthew turned 20 back in April.  I know pathetic right, but I can explain...

Grandma.  End of explanation.

Let the celebration begin!  Emily used her decorating skills to make him a beautiful cake.

You'll notice quite a bit of chocolate :)

It may appear that Matthew doesn't trust Emily to put the candles on just right.
Not true!  He just can't pass up a chance to play with matches :)

Okay here he is playing with fire again...
...very carefully.  No candle wax on his cake!

Lots of fun goodies in the sibling gift basket.
(Can you tell there just might be a Tigers fan in the house--or one or two?)


Finally Matthew bagged himself a little brother!
James was very interested in what was in the bags so in the end, it ended up being him :)

Hope you're enjoying being 20!
We love you, Matthew!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Semi-finals Performance for Helena

It was a beautiful day in Midland for Helena's semifinal performance.  She got to spend it with her sister/teacher Emily.  You'll notice the beautiful green grass and plants in the background.  Ahem, let's just say it wasn't quite that nice at home.  It was a bit "whiter" :)

It was so fun to see her up there.  She looks so little!
Oh, yes, well, that could be because she is :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

...And Then Spring Arrived

I've always been a huge fan of bulbs.  We are blessed to have a small garden area right up next to the brick on our house.  The brick very nicely absorbs heat on sunny days and gives this little garden a jump start.  My crocuses were fearless this year...

...they even kept blooming though they got snowed on.

Helena found a sunny spot on a "warm" day to do some studying outside.  She didn't stay long, but it was great to get out there.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Case Some Are Feeling Too Hot....

I'm so far behind that I thought I'd throw out some pictures of a snowmobile trip Matthew got to take with some friends this winter.  They rode the trail from our home south to the Straits of Mackinac.  It was quite a trip and a learning lesson.  By car this is a 45 mile trip and can be done in less than an hour.  By sled, even riding full out, it is a several hour trip--then you have to turn around and come back.

Off they go....

While they were gone, there was a sound at the front door and this is what greeted me when I got there.  I don't think we named the little snowman, but he had to move to get out of the way of the arriving music students.

 Later I found a snow sled creation made by Helena.  She will turn any substance into a craft project :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Seasons...

Yes, I know it has been ages since I blogged, and I will try to make time to catch up this summer since I have "less" to do.  (This should be followed by a laugh track.)

We began a new season of life in our family this past winter when Grandma came to live with us.  This has been an exhausting experience and one that I can say is rewarding to the extent that I can say at the end of the day, "I did my duty and she is well-cared-for to the best of my ability."

The "bigs" are away from home more than they are here, and we spend much time trying to figure out schedules of both vehicles and who will be available for doing the ferrying that is necessary for various people.  They have all attained their 20's and are standing on the crux of making some life-changing decisions.  

This trio makes up our high school contingent and will be graduating 
one at a time for the next three years.  This seems really hard to believe.

Bob and I carry on finding more and more grey hair as the time
passes, and wondering..."why are we so stiff and sore?"
Oh yeah, we forgot, we're getting older and older and older and older.....

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Winter Recital

The ladies held their winter studio recital at a local senior
center which allowed their students to invite many more guests.

The flute trio was very enjoyable.
No one had trouble hearing when there were three flutes 
each with a big tone playing :)

James played a piano solo and a cello duet with Kristin.  He did a wonderful job, but he always looks soooo serious.

Benjamin played a very nice piano solo.

Helena played a piano solo and a flute solo accompanied by Emily.  The residents seemed to really enjoy the program--especially their exceptionally small students.  They are really cute!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Happy Birthday Emily!

It doesn't seem possible, but today is Emily's
25th birthday!!

She chose a cheesecake for her birthday treat so 
Kristin and I made that for her yesterday...

…and she got additional treats in her sibling basket :)

Then she got her traditional birthday call from the Texas
grandparents.  This is always a humorous event.

The best picture of all is of Emily and James…
James announced yesterday that his intention was 
to take Emily out for a birthday smoothie.
I'm told he did all the ordering and paying and was
a perfect gentleman. (maybe something is sinking in)

Hope you had a very happy birthday, Emily!
We love you!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winter Fun

This winter has brought plenty of snow to our portion
of the U.P. and with it the chance to test out Matthew's
snowmobile :)

James was glad to get a ride with Christopher...

...and for Matthew's help learning how to skate.
This part proved to be a little more difficult than he
thought it would be, but he's getting the hang of it now.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Beautiful Winter Destination

I've always wanted to visit Iroquois Point in the winter
and that is where we went on my birthday this year.

It was a stormy day and we were able to get some
pictures between snow squalls.

If it looks like it was cold, that's because it was! :)


    We had to wait in the car for the snow to clear before running for the beach to get a couple quick pictures.  We managed to get back to the car just before the snow started again.  We're talking white-out can't see the water anymore snow.  It was pretty impressive.  Fun birthday trip!