I Admit It; I’m Happy {Spin Cycle}

Yesterday, I was going to go outside and take pictures of my garden to show you how happiness happens. Remember that huge, old willow tree in our backyard? The tree I loved but had to be cut down? Now there is just a big pile of mulch where the tree guys ground up the stump. It would have cost extra for them to haul it away, so we have been slowly loading our wheelbarrow with the mulch and spreading it in all our gardens and under trees. On Wednesday, I shoveled mulch so vigorously that my stomach muscles have actively been complaining. I’m still sore! Since I waited until the last minute to take pictures, however, I wasn’t actually able to take any. It rained all day, and so you will have to be happy with the picture I took a couple of month ago. (I’m hoping to sneak out early this morning and take one if the weather cooperates!)

spring garden

My raised vegetable garden and the big pile of mulch from the willow tree, along with the beginnings of our butterfly garden, in the spring.

On Wednesday, I was outside all afternoon, happily gardening. I love seeing how my plants are growing. In the vegetable garden, the hot peppers are turning red and the mild peppers are turning orange. The tomatoes are big and fat, just waiting for a touch of sun to make them blush red. The bees were buzzing around the new tomato blossoms, and I could just imagine them pollinating all my lovely green plants as they flew from flower to flower. Happy.

The girls had a half day of school that morning, and they wanted to go to the pool. But the pool is now on limited hours because the lifeguard are also going back to school. Lily and Emmy still got on their swim suits, and I turned on the sprinkler. “Look, Mama, I’m a water fairy!” Emmy shrieked as she sprayed me. “I’m controlling the water!” Even though I was getting wet, I was happy.

The news stories during the past few weeks have been so full of sadness; riots and suicide, a gruesome beheading, death. Some days I don’t even know why I read the news. Maybe that’s why the ice bucket challenge to benefit ALS research has exploded on Facebook; it’s something simple, something funny, and also something that does some good in the world. It adds a little bit of happy to my newsfeed. (I just watched Jude dump a bucket on Gretchen!)

I’m sneaking in the ice bucket challenge to my garden post, because Lily was nominated last night by her best friend, and rumor has it that I will be nominated to take the challenge later today. Does this make me happy? Yes!

I also was able to put on my rain boots this morning, and take a current picture of my garden.

My garden now, with some perennials I bought on sale that still need to be planted!

My garden now, with some perennials I bought on sale that still need to be planted!

Where are you finding happiness this week? Join Gretchen and me with your Spin and link up your post below!


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Your Spin Cycle Prompt {week of 8/18}

When Gretchen and I were trying to find a prompt for this week, we stumbled upon Happiness Happens Month. So we thought we’d write about happiness this week.

I made pick velvet cupcakes for Emmy's birthday party!

I made pink velvet cupcakes for Emmy’s birthday party!

When does “happiness happen” for you? Do cupcakes make you smile? Are you excited about your kids going back to school? Does exercising float your boat? Did a stranger say something nice to you today?

Gretchen and I are looking for the little things that make you happy! We’ll be writing about how happiness happens on Friday. Write your own happiness post and link it up any day this week!

And to give you a little smile today, here’s Emmy when she was about three singing Our Song by Taylor Swift. It makes me happy!


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How Can Summer Be Over Already?

Last winter was so long and cold and we had so much snow that spring came as such a relief. School ended and I was so excited about spending the whole summer with my babies! And as always, summer just flew by. The girls start school next week. Here are some highlights of our summer!

Concerts I’ve Attended

Okay, so this really was more of a recital. Lily had her first piano recital in June, and she was amazing! It always surprises me how much Lily loves to perform. She had all her pieces completely memorized, and even played one of her own compositions.

first piano recital (2)

Activities We Did

Swimming – Lily signed up for the swim team this summer, and so I drove her to swim practice every day for about six weeks. At the beginning of the summer, I knew it was going to be a big commitment. The first week was cold and really hard for Lily. She had to swim laps for two hours and didn’t know anyone else on her team. She was worn out and lonely, and wanted me to come early to watch her swim. The weather was so crummy this summer that several swim meets had to be postponed and rescheduled. Lily persevered, made friends, and by the time she had her conference meet, she was already saying that she can’t wait to be on next summer’s swim team!

swim meet 2

Emmy continued her swimming lessons this summer, and even though she is resisting, she’s ready for swim team next summer. She can swim 50 yards with no trouble at all! We’ll have to see what happens, which means I’ll probably sign her up and she’ll complain the whole time. Her favorite activity? Staying at home to play!

Not only did we go swimming at the pool, but we also went swimming at Lake Michigan AND in the Pacific Ocean.

Blueberry picking When we go to Michigan to be with family, one of our traditions is to go blueberry picking! My daughters love spending time with their second cousins, and we weren’t able to spend very much time with them this summer. But we did go blueberry picking! We picked over 7 pounds just for my family, and have a freezer full of blueberries!

blueberry gang 1

Birthdays We Celebrated

Emmy turned seven this summer! She is heading for second grade next week. Can you believe it? Because seriously, I can’t. She is growing up right before my eyes!

7 years old

Books I’ve Read

One of my favorite things about summer is sitting by the pool and reading during my daughter’s swimming lessons.

The Goldfinch – The summaries I read didn’t even come close to scratching the surface of what this 700+ page book is about. It’s a good book, but it has too much drug use and fuzziness for my taste. There were several times when I just wanted to reach in and give the main character a good shake!

Destroyer Anger – I love Anna Pigeon, Nevada Barr’s feisty Park Ranger. While this book was fairly predictable, especially if you’ve read other Anna Pigeon books, it was a great summer read.

Me Before You – Heartbreaking but also wonderful. I loved this book.

Movies We’ve Seen

We don’t go to many movies in the theater, so our pick this summer was How to Train Your Dragon Two. Even Ed liked it! (He is not a movie guy. He’d rather be outside doing something!) The girls loved this movies, and think Toothless is the cutest dragon ever!

At the movies

Places We’ve Traveled

Less than a week ago, we arrived home after a fun-filled two weeks in California! Our travels deserve their own posts, which I’m going to write soon. We went to four National Parks and visited some other great places. Not only that, but we dragged one of my sisters along for the ride!

Seriously, as I look back, I think it’s okay that summer is ending. We managed to pack a lot into a short amount of time!

Tell us what you did on your summer vacation, and feel free to link up any summer posts this week on The Spin Cycle! Be sure to visit my partner, Gretchen, to see what she’s been doing this summer!


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The Spin Cycle is Back!

Yesterday, I flipped the calendar to August. I know, it’s been August for almost two weeks, and I’m late! As I flipped that page, August 20th jumped out at me. The first day of school! How can summer vacation be over already?

Just as I’m late flipping over to August, I’m also late with The Spin Cycle prompt for this week! Gretchen and I are making it easy for you…all you have to do is write about Summer Vacation. What books have you read? What project have you completed not finished yet? Did you work on your tan? Sit by the pool? Garden? Travel?

Tell us what you did on your summer vacation, and feel free to link up any summer posts this week on The Spin Cycle! Gretchen and I will tell you what we’ve been up to on Friday, but you can link up your posts any day this week.


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Lemon Grove Loop Trail

I’ve always loved lemons, and ever since I named my blog after lemons, I’ve loved them even more. Sour tastes can be so good, and then being able to take something that is sour and making it sweet seems like a miracle. It’s like the soft version of making water into wine. Lemonade, lemon drops, lemon meringue pie; all delicious things coming from something so sour! Lemons suit me and my story of becoming a mother after cancer.

For the past couple of weeks, we have been visiting my sister in California, and she has her very own lemon tree growing on her patio! We spent the first full day of our visit picking lemons, hiking on the Lemon Grove Loop Trail in San Luis Obispo, and making fresh lemonade. I was in lemon heaven!

Lily picking lemons

Lily picking lemons from the lemon tree

Emmy picking lemons

Emmy concentrating on picking a lemon

Only the first selfie of my sister and me in a series of selfies.

Only the first selfie of my sister and me in a series of selfies.

cactus

Emmy and Lily on the Lemon Grove Trail

lemon grove

Lemon tree on the Lemon Grove Loop Trail

Lemons!

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