Beauty 2021

Every year I choose one special focus for the year – something I want to strive for. I have been doing this for several years now and have worked my way through love, happiness, and peace to name a few.

I find positive affirmations that are relevant to my focus for the year and I copy them into a journal every morning. Throughout the day, during the ups and downs, I try to stay on ‘focus’. At night, when I go to bed, I try to relax and keep my focus in mind as I drift off to sleep. (That doesn’t always work for me – I am usually asleep before I hit the pillow.πŸ™„)

Typically, I pick a focus for the upcoming year later in the current year and I generally have to spend some time contemplating my choices before I decide on THE one. Last week, it just came to me. πŸ’‘ I decided that for 2021 my focus would be on BEAUTY. I knew that would make the perfect focus for next year. As a bonus, I thought it would be especially fun to find moments of beauty to share on my blog.

Yesterday, as luck would have it, my son Dan called. Apparently, we will be kicking off 2021 with the perfect event to celebrate beauty.

Dan & Amanda – Gabby, Lucas and Cason

On December 31st, we will be celebrating the long awaited marriage of Dan and Amanda. It will no doubt be a beautiful ceremony – which Gabby, Lucas and Cason are naturally to be a part of.

It has been four years since Dan and his daughter Gabby and Amanda and her son Lucas joined forces to become one family. Two years later, they were blessed by the arrival of Cason. It has been a long wait for them to be able to make it official but their time has finally arrived!

There could not be a better way to end 2020 and begin 2021, year of BEAUTY, than by celebrating this beautiful occasion.

Happy Birthday Mark

Happy Birthday to my firstborn – Mark Benjamin. I remember bringing you home from the hospital like it was yesterday. You were so very tiny. Now, poof – forty three years later!

So much has happened in those years. I remember the little boy who refused to walk through puddles. How did you become the man who works construction, camps out with Erin and Dom every chance you get, crawls through the bushes with airsoft guns blazing and spends your spare time on one home improvement project after another? All the never, evers I heard for years and yet here you are. 🀣

It truly makes me wonder where the next forty three years will take you?

Happy Birthday, son. I will love you forever, I will like you for always!

Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. πŸ‘΅

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. 🀦

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. πŸ•ŠοΈ

Happy Birthday, DanπŸŽ‚

Dan with his family – Cason, Gabby, Amanda and LucasπŸ’“

My son Dan is celebrating his birthday today. We cannot be with him as he lives hours away, but we are thinking of him and wishing him all the best – today and always.

When people talk about nature versus nurture, I think Dan is the perfect example of nature. He hit the decks running, big hearted, and good-natured. Forty-one years later, after taking everything that life could throw at him – Dan is still ready to go, big hearted, and good natured! (although apparently his good nature was a bit lacking the day Cason locked him out of his truck) 🀣🀣🀣

The only thing better than having a child like Dan, is seeing the man that he became. πŸ‘

Grandpa’s Girl

When I married Dan 21 years ago, I had two sons and a daughter from a previous marriage. Dan had never been married and had no children. He was better to my kids than their own father had ever been – especially to my daughter, who was fifteen at the time.

A few years later, my daughter became a mother and we became first time grandparents.

Grandpa, Genie and Casey

Dan and I were in the delivery room with Jennifer when Genevieve arrived. They stayed with us for nine months, by which time Grandpa’s shoulder had become Genie’s go to place, in good times and bad. After Jennifer and Genie moved out, they were often back to spend time with us. Genie was always excited to see Grandpa and would spend hours entertaining him while she searched out and played with the many ladybugs in our garden. She soon became his little ladybug. 🐞

Grandpa’s little ladybug, Genie

When Genie was about nine, Dan and I went on a vacation to Ontario. While we were at Niagara Falls, Dan got his one and only tattoo – a small ladybug on his left shoulder – as a reminder to Genie that no matter how big she got, he would always have a place on his shoulder for her.

When Genie saw Grandpa’s ladybug, she decided that when she was old enough, she would get a ladybug to match – to show him that she would always be there for him as well.

A couple of years ago, I was able to arrange for Genie to get her ladybug tattoo on her sixteenth birthday. Our tattoo artists do not typically work with anyone under eighteen, but my boss’s son agreed to do this one for Genie.

Genie turned sixteen on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, we could not make the tattoo happen right away and by the time we were able to, Covid-19 had temporarily closed all of our tattoo shops. Recently, they reopened and Genie was one of the first in line to book an appointment.

Genie – Getting her tattoo
Grandpa and his ever loving ladybug, Genie

It is finally done! Genie and Grandpa happily showing off their matching tattoos πŸ’ž

65th

This weekend we had the pleasure of spending a few days with son Dan and his family – Amanda, Gabby, Lucas and Cason – celebrating my 65th birthday.

Cason & Lucas helping blow out the candle on the cake son Dan made. German chocolate sour cream – amazing cake!!
Gifts and card. *The cookbook is a copy of one that I used throughout my children’s childhood. I gave the original to my daughter years ago when she started her own family.
My husband took me on this lovely trip, gave me a beautiful card, took me shopping for a couple of new outfits and bought my birthday supper (Chinese – totally delicious!)
Buddha Board from Genie – my talent does not do it justice. It is very relaxing and therapeutic. (Husband Dan decked it out with the river rocks)
Dan, Cason, me, Amanda – back row. Gabby and Lucas in front
Bacardi, Cornelius & Kat
Taking a scenic detour home
Son Mark took great care of everything at home while we were gone.

All in all, it was a lovely few days away. I came back a year older but that was to be expected. πŸ™„

Scoping Out Playgrounds

Now that I have my grandson every Wednesday, I am on the search for nearby playgrounds. The one we went to this Wednesday had an abundance of great equipment for him to enjoy. The only problem was that the walk was a bit much for Dom. On the way there he asked me twice if we were still in Regina and on the way back he asked if we were still in Canada. πŸ™„

I do not think the park I went to this morning even had a name but it was a relatively short walk with a few points of interest for Dom along the way.

I had to go under the overpass.
Through some trees
Past some picnic tables
Beside a splash pad – it has four jets like this.
Basic monkey bars and swings
Dom loves slides!
Of course there is always a police car, complete with lights and sirens, on the adjacent Lewvan.
Canada Post out delivering the mail.
And a train heading over the underpass.

I think this walk is worth a shot with Dom. The worst he can do is clutch his heart, drop to his knees and tell me he is not going to make it. That is a whole other story. 🀦

Have a great day. I hope you our enjoying the same beautiful weather we have today!

4th of July

Happy 4th of July to my sister Jeanne, her family, and all of our neighbours to the south of us in the USA.

I used to visit the USA quite regularly, years ago. We lived so close to the American border that it was never a big deal to spend a couple of days in Minot, North Dakota just for the heck of it. After my sister Jeanne and her husband Paul moved to Gillette, Wyoming I made a number of trips down to visit them – at first with my parents and then with my own family.

Wyoming was always a great place to visit. I remember an abundance of steakhouses, country bars and friendly neighbours. There was always a visit to the Black Hills – Flintstone Village, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Every curve in the road was another tourist attraction and another fascinating little gift shop. I still have pretty little vases and stone bracelets to remind me of those days.

Jeanne and Paul moved to Chadron, Nebraska when Paul left the oil rigs to run an apiary. We were down there a couple of times. As always, it was good times and friendly people. Unfortunately, a few years after the move, Paul died in a tragic accident. Jeanne stayed on, running the apiary with an American friend of theirs. They eventually married and still make their home in Nebraska. Jeanne’s son is raising his family in Wyoming and her daughter is in Washington State with her family.

It is so sad how times have changed between Canada and the USA over the years – with border control, tariffs, and of course now with Covid 19 closing borders. I would love to travel back down through the States. There are so many places that I would love to visit and of course it is always an easy drive to better weather during our frigid winters!

I just want to say, I really appreciate the photos and stories that our American neighbours post on WordPress – it is an inside look at a country that I would love to see more of.

From this side of the border, have a great USA Independence Day!

Happy Birthday, Gabby!

Happy Fifteenth Birthday to our dancing, world traveling, academically achieving, basketball playing granddaughter!

Gabby – Grade 9
Gabby’s first visit to Grandma & Grandpa’s
Daddy’s GirlπŸ’–
Cool Gabby
Gabby, Lucas & Amanda
Lucas, Santa, Cason & Gabby – Gabby saves her biggest smiles for when her little brothers are in the picture😊

Life isn’t always simple or easy for young people – but no matter how great life is, or how challenging it can be, Gabby shines through. 🌞

Wishing you a Happy Birthday and your best year ever (so far). Love Grandma & Grandpa D. πŸŽ‚