A Busy Start…

…to September.

Spiders really have been busy. We are always amazed at what they accomplish overnight when we walk from the house to the garage brushing the new webs off our faces!

It seemed like the leaves changed their colors overnight, too. This is our Dogwood.

This is our Chinese Flame Tree.

These are the 3rd and 4th Jalapenos we’ve gotten off our little bush. It’s a new plant for us this summer.

Our lavender bushes still have a few blooms. I love working around them and enjoying their great scent.

Early September brings Dear’s birthday, too, which is a good reason to set a table for a celebration.

Decided on some nice bold colors for our dinner table. We had a great time at the table getting caught up with each other.

Dear and our SIL Andrew are very busy working on Josh and Laura’s remodel. Living without a kitchen is always an interesting challenge. Katie is busy interviewing for a job. I’m the support vehicle during these busy times for everyone else. Running errands, making dinner, and running that ever full dishwasher. I’m thinking about getting busy adding more daily exercise to my routine. Hopefully this week the thinking part will become reality in action!

Today Katie and I are going shopping to refresh her work wardrobe.

Have you been busy with changes in September?

Early Signs

Our Flame Tree seems to have changed overnight. We had an early summer this year and I think we are getting an early Fall, too.

Today the Queen of England reached the milestone of being the longest reigning Monarch in U.K. history. She doesn’t want any fanfare.

London Sunday 029We stood outside Buckingham Palace in September of 2013 on our trip with Josh and Laura. Long live the Queen! We were hoping that she’d make it to this milestone day.

London Sunday 033Today is also Dear’s birthday and he would probably like a little fanfare so those of us on this side of the Cascade Mountain Range are getting together for a dinner celebration tonight. Our second MGCC cookbook Celebrations is opened to the pages that have my Sirloin Stroganoff with Buttered Noodles so I can follow the recipe…

Instead of green beans tonight we are going to have zucchini since we have one from Dan and Jamie’s garden to still make use of. That way something from their side of the mountains will be with us at the table.

Dear is the longest reigning King at this old house!

Happy Birthday Dear! Long may you reign with your love and kindness!

Family Signs

This last weekend we enjoyed lots of great family time at some of the places featured in this “Signs, signs”  by Lesley combo post!

Six of us traveled east and then north to the little town of Chewelah.

The girls enjoyed a bridal shower on Saturday while the guys worked on flooring and plumbing at our son’s home.

Granny had several fun signs at her home.

In this part of Washington state you see a lot of these signs if you travel off the main highway.

When we made it back to our son’s home after the shower we went out to dinner to celebrate our son-in-laws birthday at El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant.

Happy Birthday Andrew. We had a real good time celebrating you!

After dinner we all went up to the lodge where Dear and I were staying and had a family photo time.

The soon to be married couple!

The girls!

The guys!

Our family is rounding out very nicely. We are thankful to God for blessing us with kids who get along and enjoy each other. It was good to work together, celebrate together, play games with each other, and eat together.

Just before we hit the road to travel back to Western Washington we all had brunch together at the new Main Street Bistro in Chewelah.

And then we stopped to get gas at our station of choice in this area.

“Owned and operated by The Spokane Tribe of Indians”

Joyful, Joyeux, Joy…

…can’t get enough of these great words beginning with J. My weekend was filled with many joyful moments. It was my birthday weekend and I celebrated with friends and family.

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That one card I received pictured top left was hilarious. “It’s Birthday!, Blow out candles and make wish for good thing! Won’t get but is fun tradition anyway. Wishing you to have Happy Birthday”

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Still going on the Russian theme I received this fabulous apron and kitchen towel from my daughter in law’s mother. Thank you Pat! So sweet that she thought of me when she saw these Matryoshka themed gifts. Things like this from my heritage give me joy.

Project house 007

I was overloaded with gifts including a tasty meal out from our dear friends, Dave and Beth. This Gusla with the beautiful painted Russian Fairy Tale scene was part of the things Beth brought for me or someone in my family to enjoy. It’s a great instrument that is simple to play with cards that slip under the strings showing you the strings to strum playing the tune. I played Happy Birthday to Me on my birthday morning feeling quite accomplished!

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On Sunday afternoon we drove to downtown Seattle for dinner and live Irish music at Fado, an Irish pub with our oldest, youngest and their fabulous spouses. Our middle son lives 6 hours away so he couldn’t join us but he sent along a card. The company and music was fabulous. I received such wonderful written notes from each of our children that really brought me so much joy.

Fado

The food was good, too. A little Irish and a little Russian made for a nice meeting of two cultures!

And I’ll end this post with my ABC Bible Verse Card for the letter J!

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Knowing I have a God who does not change and who is faithful brings me a lot of joy and peace.

Linking up with ABC Wednesday with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her ABC team who keep things going each week.

Three Full Days…

Before we are swept into 2015 I’ll share our full three days of celebrating…

We had a very quiet Christmas Eve. Early in the morning we braved the parking lots at Costco and Safeway and bought the last minute items we needed for Christmas day. We bought a Costco rotisserie chicken and macaroni & cheese for any hunger pangs we might have as we got ready for Christmas day.

Our Christmas Eve service followed the theme of peace in the midst of pain and chaos. We enjoyed singing traditional Christmas carols with a few modern twists and we even had snow fall during the service inside church! After work on Christmas Eve Andrew and Katie arrived for the night enjoying our treats from Costco and after Dear and I went to sleep I heard Josh and Laura arrive for the night after they celebrated with Laura’s family.

Early on Christmas morning Dear and I heard some ducks quacking and it took us a while to spot them on the neighbor’s roof. A quacky good morning made us smile.

More presents were added next to the tree as Dear and I slept.

We woke the kids up to a favorite Christmas CD by Twila Paris to see what gifts Santa delivered to our stockings.

Our breakfast table was all ready to go for our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of Swedish Pancakes that Dear makes for us.

After breakfast I changed out the table for our Christmas Dinner with two places added for Dan and his fiance Jamie who were on the road from Eastern Washington to join us for dinner and the rest of the weekend.

Christmas Day 008Our meal on Christmas day was our traditional Prime Rib Roast and Yorkshire pudding with roasted root vegetables and creamed corn.

Our kids with their loves!

The original family with our three children.

Our oldest, Josh, married Laura in 2001.

Our youngest, Katie, married Andrew in 2011.

Our middle son Dan who will be married to Jamie in 2015.

All of us together.

The day after Christmas we had another fun evening celebrating Dan and Jamie’s engagement and Katie’s birthday with family and friends. We had appetizers and Dear’s Tomato Rice Soup for our gathering.

Katie, Andrew, Steve (BIL), Lana (My sister), Beth (mother of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dan, Jamie

Laura, Dave (Father of Dan’s best friend growing up), Dear, Ellen b., Josh and Katie. Unfortunately Dan’s best friend growing up was home sick along with his little daughter so his family wasn’t able to join us.

We toasted Dan and Jamie and then we sang to Katie before she blew out the candles on her Applesauce Spice Birthday Cake.

Our hearts are full and flowing over.

Dan and Jamie left our home on Sunday morning headed across the mountains again to Eastern Washington. We got the text that they arrived safely and that is always a good text to receive.

How are things at your place?

Catsup or Ketchup?

This is a little catch-up post from my weekend doings but I thought I’d ask this question. Which spelling of that red accompaniment to french fries or hamburgers or scrambled eggs do you prefer or do you use both? On to my catch up weekend!

Open house 028On Saturday I arrived to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and commandeered my sister’s car and headed to my Pop’s apartment. To be honest he wasn’t doing well on Saturday at all. We sat with him and cried with him and encouraged him to eat some of the food my sister Vera provided for all of us.  After several hours we left the apartment. I checked into my hotel. On Sunday all of us who could gathered at my sister Kathy’s house through the afternoon and into the evening. The above photo is of all the grandchildren of my pop’s who were able to make it to the open house. My father was doing a lot better on Sunday.

2014-09-14 Open house2There was lots of good food. I didn’t get photos of all the amazing desserts but I did get photos of my niece Melissa’s cup cake creations for our little Miss Avery’s 5th birthday celebration that we enjoyed during the open house, too.

2014-09-14 Open house3She was so so cute and delighted with each and every gift running to give a hug to whoever bought the gift! Today is Avery’s actual birthday. Happy Birthday dear Avery. Now you are five!!!!!

2014-09-14 Open house1My Pop was happy to see all of us but it was a special treat when these next two gals arrived.

Persiaearly UTamara and Milla are the daughters of my mom’s best friend in Persia, Aunt Zena. My mom and Aunt Zena took this photo with lipstick on in Persia and got in big trouble from their parents for wearing that lipstick! We were close enough to Zena to call her our “Aunt”. What a treat for Pop to be able to talk to Tamara and Milla in Russian and to talk about some of the good ole times our families enjoyed together. Tender moments were shared.

2014-09-15 Molokan Cemetery1On Monday I picked up Pop and my sister Kathy and we drove to Slauson Avenue in Commerce to find my grandparents grave site. We spent lots of time at this cemetery in our youth. Funerals were always just another part of our experience. As children we were never shielded from death and we attended every funeral that our parents did. Some of my father’s brothers and sister-in-laws are buried here, too.

2014-09-15 Molokan Cemetery5I took a lot of photos before I saw the sign in this next collage.

2014-09-15 Molokan Cemetery4Because of where this sign was positioned I think it refers to taking photos at an actual funeral procession, etc. That’s my explanation and I’m sticking to it!

I recognized a lot of common names from growing up but I was really surprised to see the family name Tolstoy in the Molokan Cemetery.

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2014-09-15 Molokan Cemetery3This is my Uncle Pete’s grave waiting for my Aunt to be buried beside him. My aunt Anna is the only surviving sibling of our Pop. She is ill and her days are numbered. She’d like to be buried here in her plot that is paid for but since she became a believer she hasn’t obtained permission to be buried here. We are doubtful that she will get permission. Since this is a “Molokan” Cemetery I do not challenge them not permitting non-Molokans to be buried here. I do have questions about the Molokan church, though. I wonder if a true follower of Jesus can remain a Molokan? Can the Molokan church truly be classified as a Christian church? You know me…I’m always wondering.

Molokan Cemetery 009A close-up of my grandparents marker. We see that they got my grandmother’s birth year wrong…she died at age 93, not 98. That means she was born in 1893 not 1888. My mom was not buried in this cemetery and my pop will not be buried here because he left the Molokan church in the late 1960’s. Most of our friends and family members from the Los Angeles area are buried at Rose Hills Cemetery. Our former Molokan friends who were ostracized from the Molokan church when they decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly and separated from the Molokan religion are buried at Rose Hills or elsewhere.

HyeAfter the cemetery we tried to go to a favorite restaurant in Montebello called Golden Skewers that specializes in Armenian food but they are closed on Monday. My sister remembered another Armenian restaurant that is in Montebello and we were happy they were open. Hye Cuisine was a hit with me. The food was delicious. After lunch I dropped my sister off at home and my pop off at his apartment saying our goodbyes till next time. We had worn him out really good over the three days I was there.

I headed to Newport Beach to check into the next hotel I’d stay the night in before heading to the airport on Tuesday morning.

food SeptOne last hurrah! On Monday night two of my sisters and my niece met up for dinner at Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza. We had a wonderful time.

2014-09-15 Molokan Cemetery6The first two nights in Orange County I stayed at the Tustin Fairfield Inn which was very nice with a complimentary breakfast. The location was great for going back and forth to my pop’s part of town. Dear had enough points for me to stay free at the Hyatt in Newport beach for one night and that’s why I switched over. No free breakfast here but I enjoyed room service breakfast.

The oppressive heat that we all experienced in Southern California over the weekend and that they are still experiencing today really takes a toll on your activity. The only time we were outdoors was at the cemetery. That lovely deck off my room in Newport Beach was not used. Even the beach towns were too hot to enjoy out of doors. I’m enjoying being back in the Seattle area sitting in my home in temperatures that are very comfortable.

Family News…

10291122_10152701970813919_9195842261775056651_nI’m so happy to finally be able to show you our new little nephew from the Ukraine with love. Andrew arrived with Mandy to be reunited with my brother Leonard and niece Hope last Friday. Our niece Hope is happy to have a little brother. I literally gasped for joy when I finally saw a photo of Andrew and Mandy back in the U.S.A. It’s hard to imagine all the adjustments this little guy and his new family have to make over the next few months and years. The nice thing is that my brother can communicate with Andrew in Russian but they are also transitioning Andrew into speaking and understanding English. Little Andrew has already skyped with our pop in Russian. If God brings this sweet family to your mind please pray for them.

10583783_10204539924242770_4860498748263058856_nIt’s been a while since I showed you a photo of my dear old pop. My nieces and nephews visited him on Grandparents day this past Sunday.

We are fast approaching the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. I will be flying down to Orange County to spend a few days with my pop and some of my family.

Today is Dear’s birthday and I’m so thankful to God for him. Tonight we will celebrate Dear with our kids on this side of the Cascades.

How’s September shaping up for you?