April Showers?

April photos by Brian Bolack

We didn't get much for April showers....

....but the crocus made an appearance early in the month....

.....and the pine trees are a beautiful bright green.
Pine tree

Pine tree against the sunset

Looks like spring is here!
Rail fence

Rail fence

But the snow didn't get the memo...It's supposed to be spring!
Snow on the deck

Such a sad, grey day!
Snow in April

This little bird was happy to see the snow melt!
A bird hoping for spring

That's it for this month...hopefully we'll have some May flowers next time!

Five Good Memories

  As my mom's dementia grows worse, I find myself thinking a lot about my childhood. I started this post months ago, but never finished...in fact this is only half... my other five memories will have to be a post for another time. I haven't been doing much blogging lately, so I thought this post would be a good way to let you know what is occupying my time and my thoughts.

  It seems to be human nature to remember negative experiences and feelings more than the positive.  I know I have some pretty negative memories from my childhood...being blamed for things that my younger siblings did, or worse, being blamed when one of them got hurt. My dislike for card games and board games stems from negative experiences playing games with my brothers. My fear of water comes from almost drowning as a child. My fear of snakes comes from my mom screaming whenever she came across a snake in the garden. My dislike for public speaking comes from being embarrassed in grade 5....and I could go on and on. 

   So many of our fears and dislikes are rooted in something that happened to us as children. The ones I've listed are pretty minor. I could talk about more painful, destructive memories but that isn't my purpose today. What I want to do is focus on the positive. So, I decided to just sit down and write a list of memories from my childhood....I wrote them as they came to me...no particular order, just the positive thoughts that came when I thought about my childhood. Of course, negative memories came too, often mixed in with the good, but I purposely ignored them! Some of these memories may seem small and inconsequential, but sometimes it's the little things that make the difference, and perhaps have a lasting impact on life.

I realized as I went through this list that I've written about some of these topics before, so I've linked to these other posts.

So, here are my Five Good Memories:

1. Going to Jacksons Lake in the summer time. We'd look forward to Dad getting home from work, so we could bug him to take us, or in later years, let us borrow the car! Yes, I have a fear of going under water, but I still loved going to the lake!

Jacksons Lake MB

2. Sunday drives with Mom and Dad...sometimes to the gardens in Morden, or to Mount Nebo, near Miami, MB, where Dad grew up. I'm not sure why these are good memories, other than that they broke up the monotony of everyday life out in the boonies! I remember one time, I wasn't able to climb the hill with the other kids, because I forgot to put shoes on before leaving home, and there were a lot of cactus growing in the area.

Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo

Later, when I had kids of my own, we took them to Mount Nebo, and they loved it too. 

3. Playing with our dogs and puppies. We always had at least one dog. The first was Yip. She was black, brown and white, if I remember correctly...maybe a border collie mix. Then Dad brought home Heppy, a small, ivory coloured terrier of some type. And thanks to Jack dog down the road, we often had puppies. The last three dogs we had when I was at home were Teddy, Big Pup, and Sandy. I guess we ran out of puppy names to end up with 'Big Pup' Of course there was also a Little Pup at one time too!

My siblings and our dogs
Victoria, Teddy, Me, Big Pup, Sandy, and Jamie

4. Walking.....on sandy roads that burned my feet so much that I'd try to stay in the shady spots; along railway tracks and gravel roads looking for shiny stones; on cool, damp, freshly graded roads...flattening the tire tracks; out to frozen ponds in the field to skate on; down the road to the Collie Hills to play in the spruce trees, or to slide down the steep hills in winter; out to the west bush to pick nanny berries, down the south road, or across to 'Ron's bush' to pick choke cherries...yes, walking was a big part of my childhood! 

Collie Hills
Collie Hills

5. Our 'world'.... The garden...making a meal just wandering around...pulling up a carrot, picking some peas, and then raspberries for desert! And the flowers...when I was little..zinnias, cosmos, carnations, snow on the mountain, bachelor's buttons, portulaca (especially the mound in Auntie Bene's garden) oh, and scarlet runner beans at Auntie Bene's place, and her apple orchard! ...and my very own rock garden with a cement bird bath that I made myself. And all the wildflowers...blue bells, crocus, cowslips, buttercups, tiger lilies, lady slippers...

And trees...climbing trees, making houses in the center of the  'big willows', swings hung from trees...and especially the sideways tree...even though I was knocked unconscious when I fell out of it!

The sideways Tree
The sideways tree

 I could go on, but I'll stop there! I really was blessed with wonderful parents, and had a good childhood...not perfect or without difficulties, but I'd rather remember the good times...wouldn't you?

 If anyone out there decides to make their own list of good memories let me know. It really is a great exercise.

 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Philippians 1:3

Decorating Kids' Rooms

 I come from a family with eight kids. When I was a girl, all I wanted was a pink bedroom. My parents weren't crazy about bright colors, so what I ended up with was more like white with a pink tinge. We didn't have much money either, so I didn't even have flooring...just bare plywood, but I did have a little purple rug beside my bed!

 When our older kids were growing up, Brian and I didn't have much money either, so their rooms weren't much better than what I grew up with. In fact we often joked about our decorating scheme being stripes and polka dots....meaning we had mudded the joints and screws in the drywall, but there was no paint. I guess that's why I got a little carried away with decorating our kids' rooms in later years!

Decorating and making memories

  When we built our house on my parents' farm, the boys' bedrooms were in the basement with very high ceilings. In Justin and Jeremy's room, we gave them a 'Swiss Family Robinson' theme. Brian built them loft beds and I painted a blue ceiling and added clouds to the sky. I then painted huge trees on the walls. We even made some 'real' trees. Brian took the hard cardboard tube that comes inside carpet, cut it in half and put it on an outside corner. I used drywall compound to create a rough surface and painted it to look like a poplar tree trunk. I them added some fake branches. What I didn't think about was just how much dust those branches would collect! The decorating shows never told me that part! 

 Danny wanted an 'under the sea' theme, so Brian built his bed to look like a sunken ship. I sponge painted the room in a turquoise color and added plants and some coral to the lower walls. Justin drew some sharks and fish on the walls, but before we could finish painting them, disaster struck....our basement flooded, and soon the under the sea room had a stream flowing through it! When we finally gave up on fighting the never ending flood, and decided to move, all of my hard work was ripped down! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures available. I don't think I'll be talked into doing another under the sea theme again!

Once we got moved to our next home, and construction was complete, it wasn't long before the boys put in a new request....a castle theme!

Faux painted Castle theme

I had planned to paint a scene on this wall, but it never happened....partly because I'm not very good at drawing realistic landscapes!

Faux painted castle theme room

This was many years ago, and this room eventually became Danica's room.

Faux painted castle themed room

Later, I painted a Mario themed room for Justin. I'm not sure it actually looks like the game, but if nothing else it was bright and colourful!

We built our new house almost 5 years ago, and again I asked the kids for ideas for their bedrooms.

Jeremy chose a teal colour, but he also likes camo, so I decided to try something new. I painted a base coat teal, then used a plastic garbage bag to apply some brown. I started in the closet....thankfully, because it's much harder than it looks, and didn't turn out quite the way I had hoped! 

This is how the closet walls look.

Faux painting

When I finished the closet and started on the bedroom walls, I somehow forgot to paint the teal base coat, and started applying the brown with the bag. So, I made the best of my mistake and applied the teal in the same way, and then went back with a sponge to touch up any areas that were missed.

Faux painting camo

Still not quite the way I had planned, but I think it's better than the closet!...and Jeremy liked it, so that's what matters!

Faux painting camo

Faux painting camo

For the rest of the walls, I painted a base coat of ivory at the top, and teal on the bottom half of the wall. I then sponged on a camo pattern in a band between the two colours. I like the sponge technique much better than the garbage bag!

Faux painting

It's hard to get a picture of the whole room, but this is how it turned out.

Faux painting

 The inspiration for Danica's new room came from a purple bed spread that we gave her for Christmas. We bought two shades of purple paint, and did a base coat in the lighter shade, then a dark purple band around the room, about the halfway mark. Then I mixed the two paint colours to make a third shade. I used this new colour and the darker shade to sponge paint the bottom half of the walls. It doesn't really show in the pictures, but the sponge painting looks like lilacs.

Faux Painting

Later, we painted the bed white to match the rest of the furniture, and added white baseboards and trim.

Faux painting

We decorated the room with a 'frozen' theme, using a shower curtain on her closet, and large stickers on the wall.

Theme rooms

Theme rooms

Theme rooms

It's surprising what you can do with a little bit of paint, to create a special room for your kids....and hopefully some special memories!

Making memories