Monday, July 21, 2014

the cutest...

You'd think he was in a Halloween costume, the way he dons his "turnouts," in record time, practicing, in case there is a fire.  But its clear, this firefighter, my nephew, is not playing.  He may be 4 years old, but Ethan longs to be a firefighter and protect people when he grows up.

So when he flew to Minnesota with his Dad, (Rick's brother, Matt), Ethan walked into our house fully decked out in his turnouts.  Plus one other surprise.

His Dad promised him a trip to a local fire station.  Ethan has gone before and usually is given some crayons, a coloring book, and maybe some badge stickers.  

But this day, would be his lucky day.  The fireman said he had something for Ethan… and came out with this authentic, and real firemen's helmet!  

It has a dial in the back that allowed us to get it to a size that rests comfortably on his little head.  Wow, is that thing heavy!  But Ethan lifts it with such pride, he was literally beaming with that hat.  We rarely saw him without when given the right occasions to wear it.

Here he is with his turnouts, gloves, boots, and that hat that he hoists to his head, again and again.  "Practicing," he'll tell you, just like firefighters do.

These two cousins, were instant buds.  Colton did a great job of keeping up with a 4 year old who was creative and active and simply a joy to be around.  

Our next day with Ethan and Matt, we took the boat out to the lake.  While I sat on the beach, the rest went out fishing.

Suddenly, my phone buzzed, and this image came through.  Nolan had snagged a muskie, a BIG muskie, by the looks of the tail end diving back down into the water.  But alas, the size of the fish, Nolan's eagerness to catch it, and his meager 6 lb line was not enough to land the fish.  It sure has made a good "fish tale," out of that fish "tail."  

After a pizza break at Zorbaz, the boys left to go home with Matt and Ethan, while Rick and I took the boat back across the lake.

The sand bar was filled with pontoons, music and quite the party atmosphere.

But the wind had come up, and the water was getting choppy.

When the white caps on the top of the waves started to appear, we headed for the boat landing and headed for home.  Our next adventure was just around the corner...

The next morning we packed up the car, and headed to Silver Lake Recreation Area for a Westra Family Reunion.  It was a beautiful day.  

We just needed Ethan's older sister, Mackenzie, and his little brother Bennett to join us for all the Westra cousins to be together.  

One of the fun ideas the Westra Family does to raise money to pay for the Shelter, is hold an auction.  Each family is asked to bring an item to be auctioned off.  

There were small lap quilts, embroidered dish towels, home made jelly, bread, and all kinds of fun and unique items.  

I loved these towels- I have an entire quilt my Grandma Held made for my bed out of these prairie women.  I was so happy to win!  I also got some home made apple butter and bread.

And then there was Colton.  It wasn't the hot wheels cars he wanted.  Or the water throwers.  Or the soccer ball.  No.

My precious, adorable, son?

Wanted this…

yes- a skunk skin!  A real one...


And so for 18 of his own dollars- he walked away with his newest "stuffed animal."  

I can barely stand to look at it, let  alone want to walk in his room where it is so artfully displayed.  


If I'm being honest… it was an emotionally exhausting week last week.  For so many reasons, more than I can possibly say right now. I feel a post in the making however, and soon hope to come share more. 

I went with my mother to see her liver specialist.  Her latest ultrasound shows that her kidney's have begun to atrophy, which is part of her disease progression.  Her creatinine levels are high too, also in keeping with her kidneys and their present condition.  Her blood sugars are all over the place. 

And yet, her doctor is a ray of hope- he smiles and encourages, acknowledging she looks good, despite some of the ongoing health concerns she faces.

She has been working so hard to not just maintain, but to improve herself.  She has worked to lose all the excess fluid she carried for so long.  She dropped over 25 lbs of fluid.  Her doctor was impressed.  And when she broached the subject of traveling to see family, her doctor said this fall was the time for her to do that.  

He looks me in the eyes and tells me now is the time for mom to do that.  

I swallow hard, and smile big, and nod, understanding what he is telling me.  

As mom goes to say goodbye she tells him, "Every morning I just plan for today, and hope for tomorrow.  Nothing more I can really do."  

Such wisdom, in the smallest, everyday exchange between a doctor and a patient, as witnessed by her very humbled daughter.


  1. I fety so many different emotions when reading this post! It was so sweet and heart-warming to see Colton with your nephew. Colton's heart is HUGE!!! Looks like you made many new, lovely family memories. And for Nolan's fish - well there is a picture to prove he really did have the big one that got away! Wowza! And then...I was belly-laughing at the newest member of the family - the skunk! I can see that baby heading to college with Colton and finally being banished to the garage someday by that special girl he will surely find. And finally, tears, at visualizing the knowing glance you shared with your mom's doctor. My heart can feel that one. A spectrum of emotions, so beautifully written as usual. <3

    As always, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!!

    1. Hehe- I know Steph, right? That skunk is just frightful and he LOVES it so… and had bidders going against him. Quite the family heirloom isn't it? I know, how you know about the precariousness of our parent's health and how we will move heaven and earth to accommodate whatever we can, whenever we can. So glad your path has crossed with mine- I hope you know how much guidance and encouragement you give me :)

      Hugs and love to you!

  2. what i want to know is how your sweet dog responded to Colton's new stuffed animal!

    i can relate to what you're sharing about the time with your mom. i never realized how quickly the "golden years" could fade, and it happens when you're busy doing other things. we are making conscious effort to spend time with each set of folks for this reason.

    1. Crosby has not seen the skunk and we hope he never does! We have known mom's health is slowly declining, and yet, just like Dad her spunk and spirit are strong and so we go with that. Blessings and love to you!

  3. I love being here....feeling that I am part of your family, and in a way, I guess I am.
    I am part of your blogging family. The photos are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so glad that your family had a great time together.
    Love the fact that your Mama has a wonderful outlook on life; we should all embrace her wisdom. I send her a special hug and a gentle kiss on her forehead. I do hope you will deliver both to her from me, please.

    1. I love seeing you here too, just like family- yes! I don't know what I would do without my blogging family :) I will indeed tell her Miss Jackie has sent her a hug and kiss and she will remember exactly who you are! Hugs to you sweet friend!

  4. Happy Monday, dear friend,
    Oh I can hardly contain my JOY as I look at cutie Ethan and his fire-fighting gear. And a REAL fire fighter's helmet bestowed by a real fire fighter! YIKES! How good can it get?
    And your time at the lake, reunion, and time with your wonder you are a bit tired emotionally and physically. What a busy schedule.

    Boats and waves and people and skunks and fun...OH MY!

    And that all-knowing exchange of looks between your Mom's doctor and you...the trip needs to be this fall. Bless her heart for losing 25 pounds of excess fluid. Not always easy...this part of the journey with her.

    You, dear Vicky have been on my mind and heart all weekend. Know that I am sending you loves and hugs and prayers...always prayers.

    Love you to the moon and back!

  5. I see a future white elephant gift in your son's future! What an auction prize ( I use the word loosely.)
    You certainly experienced a range of highs and lows over just a few hours this weekend. Your nephew is precious and I know seeing your boy willingly be a pal to him warm a balm to your soul. I know Ethan thinks Colton is just the best!
    Praying for your mother and for you as she faces the unknown and the sad known ahead. I am so sorry and yet so grateful that you can be purposeful with her.

  6. The photos are so great. A nice journey through images as always. But that skunk. I feel like that's something I would have picked, too, as a younger, inquisitive girl. I once found a rabbit's foot. Not one of those fake ones but a REAL rabbit's food, in the mountains. I thought it was the greatest discovery ever. The luck! I love how you live, reach and love, even through the tough moments. You remain an inspiration, Vicky. XXOO

  7. God bless your dear mom, and you too.

    P.S. love the sweet embroidery ... the skunk? Not so much :-/

  8. Oh my..your nephew is the 'cutest'...what a fireman he will be! all the pictures, the family reunion the wonderful auction 'wins' (yes even the skunk skin lol) such a wonderful family week..such a summertime feel...and then...then at the end. I know how your heart is flip flopping... "do it now" with the unsaid hanging in the air. As always many prayers and much takes on pathways and walk ways that challenges us, but more so strains our hearts...for love is that huge............... love you Vicky!

  9. Oh, my. The skunk skin. That is both hilarious and gross at the same time!

    Looks like a fun family reunion - we had one of those this weekend as well. I am sorry for the difficulty with your mom - so glad she will be able to spend time with family this fall. Praying as you navigate these waters.

  10. What a sweet nephew, but my oh my, that Matt is good-looking (I'm referring to 'the arm around the shoulder' photo).

    I have a set of my mom's dish towels that are so similar to the ones you won.

    Lump in my throat over your mom.

  11. I was/am with you while reading this, Vicky. So many God-moments throughout your writing. And by the way, lakes in Georgia are sort of green. I was so amazed by how gorgeous this lake was you "brought" us--so blue and sparkly.

    Love how you wound so many emotions together in this one. I'm praying for you--from one writer to another--as you sense another blog coming from that day. Oh, boy, do I understand.

    Such beautiful, real, honest writing, my friend. Thank you for the privilege of reading your heart. xoxo

  12. Your mothers words... simple, honest, courageous. Like you.

  13. Very precious times with the boys. All darling in different ways. Glad your mother is able to travel and she is blessed to lean on you. What a doctor's visit........sigh.


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