Summer Days

Our days are beginning to include more homeschool lessons, and our evening walks quite often require long sleeves, but before the season completely turns, I wanted to share some of summer’s goodness.  We’ve  enjoyed a season of  campfires and cookouts, beach days and berry picking, hiking and music making, ice cream and rainbows:

Letchworth State Park

at Letchworth State Park


at Woodlawn Beach

at Woodlawn Beach


at Awald Farms

at Awald Farms


at Letchworth State Park

at Letchworth State Park



Buffalo Suzuki Strings Summer Workshop


outside Dairy Queen

outside Dairy Queen


Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park

It has been a good summer, and it’s not quite over yet.


Last Week: Outside

Last week we enjoyed a Memorial Day cookout at the home of new found friends.

Our rhododendron bloomed.














We planted vegetables and flowers.














The boys worked with Dad to make planters for the garden.














We went out for pizza with a friend and then to his old home place to pick up some soil.














The boys observed the start of the racing season.











Jack and I found time to go down to the river.














It was a good week to be outside.







Coming Home

We took the scenic route home from Frankenmuth.  I am not a big fan of interstate driving, but I am a big fan of the Great Lakes so I drove us across the Thumb to a little park on Lake Huron.  (Having grown up in Michigan, I do use the proper anatomical terms to describe the geography of the state.)  Of course, driving across this said appendage puts one at risk of getting stuck behind large farm trucks.  At some point, I kind of wondered whether or not my route was worth the trouble.  I’m pretty sure it was.



We had the entire beach to ourselves.  Jack and I explored while Thomas dug for water.



We played on the swings and ate a picnic lunch before heading across the bridge to Canada.  We arrived home in the evening, tired but happy.  It had been a good weekend.


Last Week: Snowdrops and Scholarships

Last week I picked snowdrops for someone special.


Thomas received news that he has been chosen as one of the recipients of the 2013 Lucinda Yang Memorial Scholarship.  This will cover the cost of the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Summer Workshop coming up in August.  Thomas worked hard on his application.  He submitted a DVD recording of one of his pieces, and he filled out the scholarship application.  We are are grateful for the recommendation from his teacher, Ms. Klansee Reynolds, who must have written good things about him!

Here is a video of the piece Thomas played.  While we were at it, we also recorded both of the boys playing “Long, Long, Ago.”

The weather here has turned colder again, but that’s okay.  We have had more time to work on math and spelling, music and watercolor painting.


And that’s all the news I have.


Getting Up

Several nights ago, I read a thought-provoking post.  I found it on a pretty blog with pretty pictures, written by a pretty young woman – a blog that I like to read because I find it to be a pleasant diversion.  This particular post was about “making it happen.”  The writer is making the life she envisioned a reality.  “Making it happen” is the reason she is excited to get up in the morning.  Indeed, her blog stories suggest that she is successfully accomplishing her dreams, and I wish her all the best.  Nevertheless, instead of being pleasantly diverted, I found myself sighing.lakemichigan1

I would like to be excited to get up in the morning.  I would like to believe that I could get up and “make it happen.”  But I don’t.  Perhaps I am not as idealistic as I once was:  I am not the girl looking out my bedroom window at a sparkling blanket of snow and thinking that the world is a perfectly wonderful place.  I am not the twenty-something Christian school teacher, committed to excellence for my students at all costs.  I am not even the young mother envisioning an ideal childhood for my sons.

No, I am one who has come through a great sea of depression and is trying to stand now on the opposite shore.  Such a journey will change one’s perspective.  Hold your dreams lightly because they may be taken away.  And the waves still lap at my feet, and they sometimes knock me over, but I no longer feel as though I am drowning.


There is a name for this change of perspective.  The late Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, called it positive disintegration.  Author, Martha Burge, describes it like this:

If you think about the person you were in your twenties or earlier, and then think about the person you are now, you’ll see a difference.  Your attitudes, beliefs, and view of the world have changed.  These changes happened when your view of the world no longer worked.  You had no choice but to let it fall apart and rebuild it so that you could handle the situation that was intolerable in your old view of the world.

But I still have to get up.  When the waves knock me down, I have to get up.  When the sun rises in the morning, I have to get up.  If I’m not going to “make it happen,” then why should I get up?


St. Paul has some words of advice:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Romans 12:1

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.  Colossians 3:23

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17


Getting up and working with all my heart is my spiritual act of worship.  And it is completely appropriate to ask God to bless the work I do.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days….May the favor or the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:14 and 17

I will get up, and I will work with all my heart, and I will not do this perfectly, but through Christ, it will be my act of worship.  That is my perspective.  Some of my work may involve envisioning, planning, and reaching goals, and some of it will not.  My job is simply to walk the path God has given me.

And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

I will stumble, and I will fall, and my perspective may change yet again.  But God will pick me up.  He will never change, and His love will last forever.



1. Quote from Martha Burge, The ADD Myth: How to Cultivate the Unique Gifts of Intense Personalities (San Francisco: Conari Press, 2012)

2. All Bible verses from the New International Version

3.  Photos by John David Duke Jr.  Taken at Lake Michigan, July 2010.



Last Week: End of a Season

Last week marked the end of hockey season.  Youth hockey in the town of Tonawanda has come to a close, and all the parents (in this house, at least) are breathing a sigh of relief.  Really, it was a good season, and we are proud of both of the boys.  Tom’s team went undefeated and clinched the championship for his division.  What fun!  I hope  Jack can have that experience sometime as well.

Jack photo by Allstarz Photo

photo by Allstarz Photo

Thomas photo by Allstarz Photo

photo by Allstarz Photo

Outside hockey also came to an end.  The boys went skating with Dad one last time on Wednesday morning.  By the end of the week, the ice had thawed completely, and now our pond is being drained.  Soon we will have soccer fields behind our house once more.

Even without outdoor skating, there was certainly no lack of outdoor activity over the weekend.  All the neighborhood boys escaped from their homes without winter coats and did as boys will do.  Street hockey (yes, more hockey), bike riding, tree climbing, and a rousing game of “pickle in the middle” come to mind.

Seen from my kitchen window- a strange rite of spring with which I am unfamiliar

Seen from my kitchen window-
a strange rite of spring with which I am unfamiliar

Inside the house, I took down all the snowflake and snowman decorations and packed them away in the attic.  Then I escaped outdoors to my favorite walking spot down by the river.

End of winter

End of winter

It seems that the winter season has come to an end.  Honestly, I’m a little surprised.  Oh, I know we will see some more cold temperatures and perhaps some more snow, but it feels like winter is over.  I guess I’d better order those garden seeds…..Spring is on its way.


Last Week: We Skated


I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a “week in review” to publish here.  I convinced myself that this would be a good idea, and I decided to start this past Sunday evening.  Then Sunday evening came, and instead of writing, I watched Downton Abbey. 

 Oh well.

It is now Tuesday night, and I’m writing my “week in review.”  Fortunately, last week was pretty straightforward: we skated.

We have a park behind our house.  In the summer, we see soccer fields from our backyard.  In the winter, if the weather cooperates, we see a skating rink.  Last year the weather did not cooperate, and the city was never able to flood the fields.  It was a sad winter.  This year, the weather has been colder, and all three of my boys were excited as the fields were flooded early last week.  By Wednesday afternoon, skating had commenced.  The boys skated on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Even I went out a couple times, and a fun time was had by all.


my three hockey players

Other events last week included a trip to the dentist with no cavities.  Also, Thomas and Jack both received practice award ribbons at their Buffalo Suzuki Strings Saturday class.  Somehow, we managed to fit these activities in our schedule, but mostly, we skated.





In honor of his seventh birthday, I am sharing a year of Jack:

September 16, 2011

Accompanied by his faithful sidekick at Letchworth State Park, Fall 2011

The medieval king comes home from his conquest, Halloween 2011

Missing two front teeth, Christmas 2011

At the Sabres game, Winter 2012

Ready for the ice, March 2012

Jesus is risen!  Easter Dinner 2012

Self portrait, Spring 2012

At Delaware Park, June 2012

Blowing bubbles, Summer 2012

Water balloon attack! Summer 2012
Photo by C. Gioe

Happy birthday, Jack! September 16, 2012


Summer Highlights

One could say I’m slowly growing this blog in fits and starts.  I’m in one of those “fits” this weekend, trying to document the highlights of our summer.  Aside from what I’ve already posted, here is what I want to remember about the Summer of 2012:

Field Trip to the Lockport Cave and Locks

Picking Strawberries at Becker Farms

Bubble Day

Tom’s Suzuki Book I Recital

Jack Learning to Catch a Baseball  (photo by L. Gioe)

Beach Day  (photo by C. Gioe)

A Hockey Season Well-Played

Picking Blueberries at Awald Farms

Picking Blueberries (I had to include both pictures!)

Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts

I don’t have any pictures of the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Summer Workshop which the boys attended for a week in August, but this was a highlight too.  Perhaps there are no pictures because, for the most part, I dropped the boys off in the morning and picked them up at noon.  Kind of a nice change of routine for this homeschooling mom.  That week I even repainted the bathroom and went on a “date” with my husband to get new tires for my car!

Speaking of my husband, he wrote about the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts last year.  We try to attend every summer.  It seems like summer’s “last hurrah” to me.  Last weekend we were trying to beat the heat on Elmwood Avenue, and this weekend I saw red maple leaves while walking in our neighborhood.

It’s been a good summer to remember.