Springtime

We had a really fun weekend. Lots of chores but also a good dose of family time.   Have to balance things out, right?  The biggest project happening at our house is ripping out the lower deck.  On the east side of the house we have decks that run the length of the house both upstairs and downstairs.  My husband has had his eye on the lower deck for a while now because he knew the redwood was getting old and starting to rot.

He talked to a cement contractor and they came up with a plan to pour a patio and get rid of the redwood deck.  If you have a wooden deck, you know how much maintenance they can be – it is a ton of work to keep the railings painted. Especially in our climate where the summers are quite hot and winters very cold.  The paint just peels constantly with the contraction and expansion of the wood each season.

To save on the cost, Ray is tearing out the deck and getting rid of the piles of wood he is removing.  It is a lot of work, but also a lot of money saved. My father came over Saturday to help with stacking the bad wood and cleaning any re-usable boards (pulling the nails and stacking in a different spot.) My job was to clean the junk off the deck, and provide lots of water and lunch.  (I know, I got off easy!)

By Sunday afternoon, Ray had made significant progress.  He thinks he is just over 30% done.  He has two more weekends to finish and then they will start to build the patio in the beginning of June.  I am really excited about this project. It is going to be so pretty. We have mature rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas that will form a lush border along the edge of the patio.

Other activities this weekend included celebrating Julia’s birthday and Julia’s Junior Prom.  She went to prom with a group of kids in her class and had a wonderful time. I am sharing a picture of Julia and her sweet friend, posing with their shoes.  My daughter is very pragmatic and said she didn’t want to wear heels because they would hurt by the end of the night. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince her otherwise (she is a person who knows her mind and this is actually something I admire in her!) What do you think?

Julia fears the cake is a disaster!

For her birthday, Julia asked for a vanilla cake with strawberry filling and chocolate frosting.  I got to work on what turned out to be one of the ugliest cakes ever made!  (More importantly, it tasted delicious). The problem was I tried to split the round layers and the cake crumbled.  I had cheated and used a cake mix (c’mon, it was such a busy day!). Making a cake from scratch would have resulted in a denser cake and probably would have split fine.  This cake was too light and didn’t hold up to ‘construction’.

We were laughing so hard at this point.  It was hysterical.  Once I got to this stage, I put it in the fridge for a while to let it firm up a bit before icing it.  Also, I was praying that somehow a miraculous repair would occur and the cake would no longer look such a mess!

Icing the cake helped a little bit but If I am honest, the cake ended up looking like a six year old made it. The walnut cake plate Ray made for me added some beauty to an otherwise ugly dessert!

No matter though, it tasted really good and we had fun singing to Julia for her 17th birthday. As always, I found myself wondering how 17 years could possibly have gone by.

Each year on Mother’s Day, I have conflicting feelings of joy and bittersweet nostalgia.  Back in 1994, my first husband (my boys’ dad) passed away suddenly from an aneurysm in his brain stem.  He was only 36 and it was tragic beyond description. I haven’t ever mentioned it here. because how does one fit this sort of story in?  Anyway, to make awful things even worse, he died on Mother’s Day. For his mother, this was truly awful.  Time went by, I remarried and we had Julia.  When I found out I was due the second week of May, it sort of nagged at me. I kept thinking I didn’t want her to be born on May 8th because that was the day my husband passed away. One day I was talking about this fear to my mother in law (the second one, I am lucky to have two great mother in laws!). She very wisely told me I shouldn’t worry.  She said the birth of this baby was going to take this sad time of year and make it joyful.  She was exactly, completely, and utterly correct and I am forever grateful to her for her wise words. Celebrating Julia’s birthday each year, sometimes actually on Mother’s Day, has turned the whole thing around and made this a very joyful season for me.

I hope you also had a great weekend. I haven’t done any sewing since last week.  Yesterday was spent with a migraine so I am hoping today or tomorrow I will find my way into the sewing room. I have projects all over that I want to be working on!!  Just look at the mess that is my sewing space!  I need to take control in there and get things cleared up.

Tomorrow I will share the May Blogger Bundle.  Curated by Jayne Willis of Twiggy & Opal, it is another beautiful bundle!  See you tomorrow.

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24 thoughts on “Springtime

    1. Bernie Post author

      I am feeling better now. Always takes a couple of days to get some energy back tho. Having Julia just a few days before Mother’s Day worked out to be a great thing. Thanks for the note Yvonne.

      Reply
  1. SarahZ

    Oh Bernie! I am so very sorry for your terrible loss! And amazed at the new joys your life has held in spite of it. Happy 17th to Miss Julia, your joy baby☺️

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Sarah. Life seems so random sometimes. But all is well and what a sweet way to describe Julia, our joy baby 🙂

      Reply
  2. Torry

    When I was 7 and my brother was 6, he drowned. When I was pregnant with my first child, I realized that he was likely to be born on my brother’s birthday. I was 3,000 miles away from my family and just sick about what this would do to my mother. She had suffered so when my brother dies. Finally, on a phone called I asked her how she would feel if my child was born on that day. She replied, “Like God had relented.”

    I know that my worrying stopped at that moment, so I think that I understand how your burden must have been lifted.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes, Torrey, you completely get it. Thank you for sharing such an emotional memory. I am sorry to hear about your little brother. Your mom’s pain must have felt never ending. But having something so joyous happen during that part of the year changes the strength of those memories,

      Reply
  3. Linda

    I literally laughed out loud and then did an ugly cry reading your post. You are such a dear.
    I think Julia is wise beyond her years in the shoe department! Good for her!
    I would have dived into that cake – I bet it was divine. 😀

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Sorry to make you do an ugly cry. That wasn’t the intent – and that’s why I haven’t written about it. No need to feel sad. It was long ago and life has been good to me. At the time, it was not easy but all of that got me to where I am now. Who knows why such things happen?
      Julia is totally right on the shoes. She hates uncomfortable shoes and refuses to wear them. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Linda

    One more thing about the cake. My Mom always swore that if she was making a cake for someone, something would go wrong. I remember her fussing and saying “Lord!” when her cakes crumbled. She would laugh and laugh at your cake issues because she went through the exact same thing. But they were always delicious.

    Reply
  5. Louise

    Oh, Bernie! What a bittersweet post. I can’t imagine your pain and sorrow at the loss of your first husband, and how your life has changed and grown with Ray and Julia. I love that term “Joy Baby” from Sarah. It’s perfect!

    I didn’t wear comfy shoes to prom, but learned my lesson and wore very similar sneakers for my college graduation march. Nobody cared what I wore under my gown except me. Good for Julia for figuring that out early 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Louise, Thank you for the sweet note. Life is really good now – amazing when something awful happens and you come out on the other side – a stronger and more grateful person.
      Good job on the shoe decision because commencement ceremonies seem to take a long while and who needs uncomfortable shoes?!? 🙂

      Reply
  6. M-E

    Next time you use a mix, try adding 1/4 cup extra flour to make it denser. I’ve done this for any number of torte, filled cakes. I even made my daughter’s wedding cake (and many, many other fancy cakes.

    Reply
  7. Wendy

    I agree with all the comments, Bernie. I’m so sorry that you had to experience that loss so young, but so delighted that you have your family and the joy that has come from them! I had to chuckle at your cake, because I could totally see me doing the same thing! I’m not big into cakes; it’s probably a good thing. The only cake I’ll make is a twinkie cake. I love Julia’s shoe choice — wise girl, and so fun! Can’t wait to see your finished deck, and your sewing room looks like a happy, happy place! (If you haven’t mailed my package yet, you might want to hold on for a sec; I might need that blogger bundle. Haha)

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Wendy, you are so sweet. I will say that cake disaster was something else! So funny. Luckily it tasted really good. A Twinkie cake? I have no idea what that is? I will post pictures of the deck-to-patio project as it progress. I am so excited about it!! (BTW, I thought about the bundle as I mailed off your package the other day. Oh Well…… )

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I feel the same – I enjoy our virtual friendship but it would be great to have lunch together someday! Never know. So far I have met up with other quilting friends – once in Maine and another time in Toronto – it could happen. If you ever come close to California, let me know.

      Reply
  8. Mari

    When I saw your unfrosted cake I thought it might be a giant cheeseburger! The expression on Julia’s face is just too much. I’m sure it was delicious and a great part of her birthday celebration. Also, Sarah wore flats to her wedding. No heels for her! I think all the smart girls are smarter about comfort than we were. Did you ever wear platforms?

    I am so sorry that you (and your boys) had to go through all the sorrow, but glad for you that so much good followed. It doesn’t negate all the sorrow, but does make the burden easier to carry. Everything contributes to where we are now, which is a pretty good place. I’m messing this up, but I’m glad you got to here from there.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      You didn’t mess it up at all Mari. I knew exactly what you meant. Thank you for the kindness.

      As for the cake, when I texted pics of the disaster, my son immediately replied he thought it was a cheeseburger!! So funny. Great minds think alike you know….

      As for shoes, yes – the girls are much more sensible these days. I remember my daughter-in-law wore pink converse tennis at her wedding. I have great pics of that. Why be uncomfortable just for shoes????

      Reply
  9. Anne Kirby

    Yes, I don’t know how you did it but it was totally a cheeseburger. Oh well, let’s make strawberry cakes out of crumbled cheeseburgers, and carry on!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      That is so funny – lots of people see a cheeseburger in that messy cake! It was delicious and it is nearly all gone already. So that is a good sign. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Don’t be sad Deb. A long time ago, it was terribly sad. But, as you so well know, we move forward and life becomes good again. Sometimes even a tiny bit better because we are more appreciative of what we have. Right?

      As for Julia, she made the right choice and was happy to have comfortable shoes on. 🙂

      Reply

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