Monday, October 25, 2010


I only started blogging six months ago,
and already it has enriched my life in many ways.

I have learned so much from reading their blogs
about various cultures and lifestyles.
It has made me pay closer
attention to the riches in my own life,
and the beauty that surrounds me.
I can't believe I took it all for granted!

My blog also brought me a comment
from a magazine editor who found my summer
vacation pictures taken in my OWN state
of Michigan...
the state I usually take for granted.

She encouraged me to enter the magazine's
"My Michigan Moment" contest,
so I did!

I told my dear blog readers about it and many of you voted
for my entry all summer!

Here's the shocker...
Out of 320 entries...

I WON!!!

I am still absolutely stunned, humbled,
honored, and mostly TOUCHED
that my little blog that only my mother and cousin
followed when I started in April,
has blossomed into such an amazing adventure for me.

My blog fulfills my favorite passions,
writing and photography..
Oh, and laughing, too!
And,  uhh..we can't forget, it's my therapy.

When the contest winner was announced,
I could not believe my eyes.
I told Hub to check for me..."Do you REALLY see my name?
Maybe I'm dreaming."
He saw my name, but maybe HE was dreaming, too,
so we called me my mom, but she might have been dreaming.

I wondered if the Prize Patrol would show up on my
doorstep to deliver the check.
Heck, I never win contests!

Sure enough, I was wearing my bathrobe when the
doorbell rang.
It was the Fed-ex guy (Yep, Prize Patrol!)
 delivering this: 

I guess this means I DID win!
I haven't cashed the check yet because I'm
stuck in a daze staring at it.

Anyway, I could NOT have won this without
my precious voters who got me into the
top five....


My biggest prize is my new friends who
come into this little blog and share time with me.

LOVE and thanks to all of you
for brightening and enhancing my life!

Here is my winning contest entry:
(You'll remember some of these from my vacation blog post.)

BeHOLDING Michigan Sunsets

by Jill Wellington

Capturing the Sun


My sister Sally and niece Megan beholding the molten sun over Traverse Bay.

Holding the Sun in One Hand


We loved gathering on the beach each evening hoping to hold the sun as it set on Michigan's west coast.

Can I Keep this in my Pocket?


My niece Joanna grasping the sun as it set in a colorful sky over Traverse City.

Mighty Man

It took my hulking, 6'4" brother Bob to hoist the majestic sun over his head like that!

The Sun in my Cap

Niece Megan wanted to scoop the setting sun into her hat.

I'm a Star!

I love this picture of Megan where it looks like she's balancing an enchanting star on her fingertips!

From Photo to Wall Art

I played around with photo-editing and transformed the photo into this poster to give to Megan on her birthday. (Don't tell's a secret!)

Beholding the Rising Sun

I arose at 6am to capture the sun rising from our hotel balcony in St. Ignace.

Your Michigan Moments story:

No matter where you live on this magnificent planet, you can walk out your front door and watch the setting sun. The amazing thought is, it’s the same sun everywhere in the world!

Yet, I know a place where sunsets are special.

In June, my family and I vacationed on Michigan’s west coast. We chomped lots of cherries in Traverse City, ambled up the astonishing Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and poked for Petoskey stones along Lake Michigan. It was one of my favorite vacations, EVER!

We packed the days with fun and delight, but our favorite time was evening. That’s when we brought blankets down to the beach or walked the piers to view some of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen.

We were so touched, we wanted to reach out and behold the fiery sun in our hands…so we did…if only for a moment…

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our Baby turns 21

As I told you a few days ago...our kids will no longer be sitting at the dinner table.
Our parenting days are over TODAY!

We took our son to college and now our nest is empty.

Actually our nest was made exactly 21 years ago today...
the day our first child was born.

Here I am 8 months pregnant after my baby shower.
I was 32 years old and so happy and ready to have a baby.

Early in the pregnancy, I had a vivid dream.
A woman came to me and said,
"The baby is a girl, and her name is Lindsay."
It was so strong and amazing, I woke up my husband and told him we were having a girl.

"No, we're having a boy," he grumbled groggily, rolled over and promptly fell back asleep.
Hubby was raised with three sisters, so he REALLY wanted a boy.
But, I was raised with three I REALLY wanted a girl.
After that dream, I KNEW the baby was a girl named Lindsay.

Sure enough...that dream woman was right!
Baby Lindsay was born at 8:32 in the morning on
August 29th, 1989.
I look like I just battled two world wars after the birth,
but Hubby was out of his mind with excitement.
Forget about that boy he wanted...
The moment his baby girl was born, he scooped her up and never wanted to let go.

He went gaga over his girlie and nicknamed her Snuggles.

A few months after she was born, his parents babysat while we went on a date
to see the movie "Father of the Bride".
As we were walking out, Hubby started to cry.
"Tell me Snuggles won't grow up and leave me," he sniffled.

I was deeply touched and so happy Lindsay would grow up with a father who adored her.
We have at least 18 long years before she even thinks of leaving us, I thought.

She brought such joy and happiness to our lives.
We could not believe how fun it was to have a little girl.

And, with a snap of our fingers...
She was a YEAR old already!

And, suddenly, she was TWO and I was pregnant with our BOY!

I remember sitting by this baby pool watching her with awe and wondering if I could ever love another baby as much as I loved Lindsay.

Turns out, I COULD. 
My love multiplied and Lindsay was crazy over her little brother
checking on him every morning.

But she still enjoyed snuggle and popcorn time with daddy!

The kiddies grew...

And grew...
and we were stunned when it was time for Kindergarten.
"Why does she have to grow so fast?" Daddy asked.

We blinked, and she was in second grade!
And, always a wonderful big sister.

In fact, Lindsay always had a maturity and wisdom about her.
Even as a young child, she would spew out inspired advice.
She had amazing compassion for others.
I always felt she was an old soul and friends gravitated to her.

And, she was still Daddy's Snuggles.

But something happened when she turned eleven.
That Christmas, as we were putting up the tree,
Lindsay got all pouty.
She ran to her room thinking it was "dumb" to be with her family.

Daddy was pretty darn devastated,
but I knew it was normal for her to begin breaking away from the family.
She was growing up and did smile for the Christmas card picture, but insisted
on removing her teeth retainer:

Now, friends seemed more important.
She had a total blast in sports, girl scouts and just playing around with her pals.

Please don't tell our neighbors the girls toilet-papered their house
at Lindsay's 13th birthday slumber party.

When Lindsay started high school and attended her first formal dance,
Daddy cried again.
"How can Snuggles have grown so quickly into a beautiful young lady?"

When she was a junior, her friends were going shopping to buy dresses for the Homecoming dance.
Lindsay declined to go.
She said, "No, I only do that with my mom."
Tears sprang into my eyes when I heard her say that.

In a flash, she graduated!

I am actually crying after I loaded that last picture.
She is now a senior in college and has grown into a special young woman.

Her wisdom and caring for others led her to pursue a degree in counseling.
She has worked as a counselor for disadvantaged teens and intercity youth.

After moving our son into the dorm today,
We dropped by Lindsay's apartment to bring her 21 birthday cupcakes.

Thank you, precious girl for bringing such joy and happiness into my life
and for growing into a fine and loving human that I am proud to send into the world...

and, for always being my baby...

You will always be Snuggles to us!

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Last Week as a Mom!

After 21 years of mothering...I have only TWO days left!
Hubby and I take our youngest child to college on Sunday
which happens to be our eldest's 21st birthday.

I know...I know...mothering is forever.
I'm talking about the every day kind that all parents understand.

I remember way back when we had a newborn and a two-year-old.

I wondered if we would ever sleep again.

Everyday tasks seemed monumental.

One morning, I hired the three-year-old to babysit the one-year old while I took a QUICK shower.
This is what I found when I returned ten minutes later:

"Mom, he was hungry," the babysitter reported.
Nothing like grazing off the family room floor,
dust bunnies and all.
Of course, I ran to get my camera.
Isn't this cute?? I thought.

Yet, I think I spent the next twenty years crouched on the floor cleaning up after them.

Piled with responsibility...

Hubby and I wondered how we'd ever get them big,
then watched in wonder as it happened right before our eyes.
(Hey, this may be the first "piling" pic! Maybe we TAUGHT them how to pile!)

The parenting and chaos continued right through this LAST week.
I was still washing and folding mountains of laundry and picking grass out of my washer...
I continued to trip over shoes by the garage door, etc...etc...etc...

I also lovingly cooked up Mark's favorite meals.
Here he is eating his beloved flank steak and smashed potatoes.

Lindsay came home from college to celebrate her birthday.

Of course, the kids were hanging on each other...

Beating on each other...

And, yes, they're STILL piling on each other!

I loved making Lindsay her favorite dinner...Chicken Pinwheels.

When I was walking the trail behind our house this morning, a green John Deere cart zoomed up beside me.

It was Sonny on his last day of his summer job working park maintenance for our township.

I was so proud watching him weed whack around the flower beds.

So THAT'S where all that grass in my washer is coming from!

Hubby and I can't believe the FUN and FRENZY of parenthood is almost over.


It continues right up to the last moments as I check off things we need to get for college.

I know we'll shed a few tears when we say goodbye to both kids this Sunday...

*Sniffle, was all SO FUN!*

Then we'll come home and sleep forever!

We deserve it...