Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Snowy End of April


 As the snow fell yet again in April, my thoughts were on my garden.  Freshly mowed grass, cleaned pots and fountain.  Just waiting for some warmer weather.  The 4 inches of snow fell in big clumped bunches and covered the lawn and emerging plants.  The trees just had buds ready to pop.  Everything covered in a blanket of my beloved snow.  I just could not remember such a significant snow so late in the spring. Especially when the snow was falling at 7:30 in the evening and it was still light outside, that was just weird.

By the time I got up the next morning, it was still a magical winter wonderland outside, but by noon, most of the snow was melted and it was spring again.

Just wanted to chronicle this historic late season snowstorm.



 My poor hostas, lucky they are hardy.




 In the morning when the sun came out, it took my breath away. So beautiful.



 Our neighbors apple tree.
 The fountain running, no ice.

My geranium I wintered inside was covered in snow but seems to be fine since the thaw.

 What did I do during the storm?  I sewed. Pincushions and bags. 

 Made gifts for friends, while my dearest slept or watched science fiction flicks.
A quiet but good weekend, together.

Happy Birthday to my dear friend and faithful reader of my blog, Jean.
Always there when I need a friend, Love you!

Happy May to all of my friends who visit me here, At Home in English Valley.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Easter and other miracles...


Oh Easter, how I look forward to you each year.  We've had our problems as of late.  My dearest was back at the hospital for a routine procedure and we ended up staying overnight.  It was early Good Friday when we returned home.  The question, could we pull off brunch for 20 in less than 48 hours?

The house was already cleaned and decorated.

Bunnies and a couple of ducks lined the stairs.

Blooming bulbs in the foyer.

The table set in the family room.

The groceries were already purchased, several cakes were made earlier in the week.

The muscari were potted.

The wheat grass was growing.

Pansies too.

The glittery chicks on the tables.

The fireplace all decked out.

Even a little Lavender display.


Everything was ready,  except for us.

We talked about cancelling, but we couldn't disappoint the family.

So I made my casseroles, and potatoes.  Coleslaw and Ambrosia.  Store bought pierogi and bagels.
We had bacon, Polish sausage and ham.
Scrambled eggs and Door County Potatoes.
Mindy brought her famous deviled eggs.
Elizabeth brought me flowers.
Mikey brought the ice and Amanda brought me more beautiful flowers.

Kris and Doug brought the veggie tray and fruit.  My dearest rolled up the ham and folded the dishtowels that came out of the dryer. We never made it to the basket blessing, but I hope the ancestors understood.

My dear friend Mary brought her traditional Lamb Cake for us to enjoy.

And, bingo bango we had Easter!
Grateful to be together, (except for Jon and Charlotte and the twins who are still too tiny for travel.)
grateful to be home, and for the most beautiful weather on Easter day in recent memory.

The only mishap, the egg hunt.  We filled the eggs with quarters, dollars, one five dollar bill and one ten dollar bill.  The cousins were ready! When the hunt was over, no one had the ten dollar egg.
Even the grownups joined the hunt.  No luck.
Yesterday, I cleaned out the fountain, a job I didn't have the time or energy to do before our guests arrived.  I found the egg in the watering can on the fountain, with the ten dollar bill safely inside.
 Even Doug who hid the eggs didn't find it.  How wonderful when the cousins are together.  
Next year six girls will be hunting eggs! 

My great niece Teya brought me a gift.  When she was little I called her my Little Bird here on the blog.  She will be 11 soon.  She made me a Suzy Snowflake figure out of all natural materials.  When she was very small, I made her a Suzy Snowflake that hung from a stick that she could make dance.  It broke and we said that we would someday make another. Teya decided to make one for me.  It touched my heart, that she remembered and that she though of me.  Sometimes I am sad that she doesn't remember all the fun things we did together, so it was especially wonderful.
What a special gift from a special girl.

When Penny was leaving she didn't want to go.  She held on to me, and told me she wanted to stay.  
I felt very loved.

My dearest, on the mend, enjoyed the festivities, and so did all of our guests.
I don't know how we did it, but we did.
Alleluia! 

Thanks for stopping by and for your friendship.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, April 15, 2019

I can see clearly now...

 Today I am so grateful for my vision in my right eye has been restored.  After cataract surgery, everyday has been a revelation.  I can see!  I can also see what time has done to my face.  Truly, I have earned every dark circle and wrinkle or as I prefer to call them laugh lines.  My dearest makes me laugh everyday.  Even when things are tough. 

 We've had some trying times as of late, but the good outweigh the bad, and the happy outweigh the sad.  Our beautiful tiny granddaughters are finally home.  Jon and Charlotte's days apart were very difficult, but they made it through.  The girls are growing and healthy. 

 Life is full of challenges, but also filled with joy and love.  We are preparing to celebrate Easter.  Even though Easter is late this year, I was not prepared.  A little cleaning, a lot of planning and lists, checking the pantry.  I got this!  I've been doing the holidays 35 or so years.   They have all turned out fine, even the year it rained INSIDE right before my brunch.  Sometimes a little smoke from the oven, a casserole that needs more time, a cancelled egg hunt due to weather.  Still we are together, and we rejoice.

I am a creature of habit.  I will make the bread for the blessing.  Buy the Polish sausage, color the eggs and go to the blessing of the baskets.  Looking forward to the Spring that is promised but late, to my family gathered and to celebrate life.

Happy and Blessed Easter to you and yours.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, April 1, 2019

April, she will come...

 I hear the song in my head, and it's hard to believe today is the first day of April.  I am doing a little puttering around the house.  The winter still has us in it's grip, but hope springs eternal that Spring is just around the corner.

 Grandpa and Grandma finally met our brand new granddaughters.  Irene is already telling Grandpa, no more kisses!  They are the sweetest tiniest babies.  After having eight pound babies myself, these little girls are almost floating in our arms.  They are strong, and content and healthy.  What more could anyone want.
Stevie meets Grandma!
 I wept sweet tears holding our Jon Jon's daughters.  The love started as soon as we knew Charlotte was pregnant, and increased twofold upon knowing they were twins.  Holding our granddaughters for the very first time is one of life's sweetest moments.

 God willing, we will hold these little hands for as long as they let us.  We are almost at the seven year point of hand holding with Penny, and she is still willing.  We are blessed in so many ways.

 My dearest is feeling better, looking better and stronger since his hospitalization.  His work ethic is strong too.  It's hard to keep him from working, even on days when he really needs the rest.  He thrives in the work environment, and to hear him talk with customers and co workers is impressive.  I sometimes don't understand a word of what he's saying, but I love to surprise him by asking a technical question, or quoting something I've read or heard on the news.  It's fun seeing his reaction. 
He loves when I talk "tech" to him. ;-)

This week I will have cataract surgery on my problem eye.  I am looking forward to better vision, and getting my eye glasses updated.  I vividly remember my Buscia leaving for the hospital and me crying when she went to have her cataract surgery.  I was probably 5 years old.  Things have changed in almost 60 years, now I'm the Buscia!  Getting my eyes to work together after surgery will take a little while. I apologize in advance for any typing errors, bad punctuation...who am I kidding?  I've been writing this blog for NINE YEARS and my typing, grammar and punctuation has not improved a bit.  
 Until next time...

The only Spring you'll find in Chicagoland is inside.

Though it's faux, it cheers me up.  

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Twins, what a blessing!

 Many years ago, a little boy wanted a doll.  He wanted to pretend to be a Daddy, and a wonderful Daddy to "Emily" he was... Except for the time he forgot Emily in the catalog department at JC Penney, but she was quickly found and reunited.  On March 15th, our son Jonathan, Emily's Dad became a real Daddy to two beautiful girls!

 Stevie Kristen and Irene Rose came into the world at 34 weeks. Beautiful Charlotte struggled to keep them for as long as she could, but when it became dangerous for Mom and babies, they were delivered/

 The girls came into the world tiny but mighty.  Within a few days Stevie was off the ventilator, and was not having the breathing tube.  She's strong just like the Grandpa she was named after. Stevie figured out that if she raises her arm to expose the temperature monitor, the heat in her bed goes on.  They can't keep her arm covered, she wants it free.  Jon is sure she knows exactly what she's doing.

 Irene is hungry.  She will finish her bottle and look for more.  She will lie on her Daddy, skin to skin and put her tiny face right in his chest.  Try to more her into another position and she returns to face first.  Maybe she loves the way Daddy smells.

I've known that Jon would be a good Dad, but the transformation was instant.  He told me he cannot imagine his life now without his girls.  Going home without them is painful for him.  It makes me so very proud of the sweet, sensitive yet strong son we raised.  Very much like his own Dad, and my dear Dad.  They are the best examples of Fatherhood, and Jon has learned from the best.

 Charlotte, the Woman of the Year!  Recovery from a C-section is no picnic.  Carrying twins to 34 weeks is heroic.  Charlotte is the sweetest Mom, and a fighter too. We could not be there for the births, but Charlotte's Mom was close by and got to see them very soon after birth.  Roseann is a special woman, and we will be a great Grandma team.

 We haven't seen the girls except on face time.  Grandpa had some severe health problems the same week that the girls were born.  We were in one hospital while the girls were in another miles and miles away.
 Auntie Kristen had food poisoning and was so sick at home. Kris felt so helpless, not being able to help Charlotte or Dad and Mom.  It was not a week I would care to relive. We were each on our own but connected by text messages.  When my dearest was admitted to the emergency room, Jon and Mike came to be with us.  That very night in a suburb an hour away, they decided to take the babies, but then changed their minds and set a time for the delivery on Friday.  Jon traveled back and forth that night.  We didn't know what was wrong with my hubby, or when the babies would be born, and if they were ready or when Kris would start to feel better.  It tested all of us, but, we're Willoughbys damn it, and we persevered.  (We use this phrase in the face of adversity, and it always makes us smile.)   

 To make this very long story short...
The babies are thriving.  They are breathing on their own and eating, gaining weight.  They still have a while to spend in the hospital, but Charlotte has been released. Kristen is fine.  She was able to finally see us the day my dearest was released from the hospital.

There is a Ronald McDonald House close to the hospital 
so that Charlotte and Jon can be close to the twins, and to each other. 

My dearest, after more tests and procedures than anyone should have to go through,
 is home with me, on the mend and doing so much better.  This conjuncture of events tested all of us. I could not be more proud of our kids who stepped up for their Dad and me, and for each other.  Only my sons could make us laugh in an emergency room so hard that I cried.  A tech came in and told us that everyone was talking about us, I thought we might be too loud, but he said everyone was saying how nice we all were.  Mikey came with us for tests, so I wouldn't need to wait alone.  Constant contact by texts with Jon and Charlotte, Mike and Amanda and Kristen and Doug kept up every ones spirits and added a bit of humor to even the hardest days. Our family has grown by two, but what those tiny girls have gained is immense.  A family that truly loves and cares for each other.  
Selfless and compassionate. 

Welcome to the family Stevie and Irene.  We already love you both so much.  Having three granddaughters surpasses all of our dreams. Penny is ready to lead the pack, and a wonderful example she is.  Fun, smart, kind and beautiful, inside and out, just like Stevie and Irene will be. 
 We are so very blessed.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny