Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Trip Home [a month (or more!) later]

     Happy Spring, friends! I am so excited to see the tender shoots of my tulips bravely poking up through the dirt and the brilliant green of the irises that I planted last fall. It's so fun to see new life, feel the warmth of the sun after a long winter, and hear the birds singing. And it's so much easier to get up with the sun instead of hours before it even thinks of coming up. Cheers to the next few months of warmth and sunshine!
     I was planning to blog about our trip to New York soon after we returned, but as you can see, I had good intentions. You have to give me that. *smile* Please don't get confused when I say "home". I have two homes, really. I have my New York home, where my family lives, in the beautiful land of sparkling lakes, rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, and everything that feels right and familiar. I also have my Manitoba home, which consists of a small, but cozy house that I share with the man I love. I do not feel that Manitoba is truly home yet, but as for our little house, that also feels like home.
     It might sound a little complicated, but I'll try to explain this clearly. I caught a ride to New York without my husband, and his plan was to join me a few days later. He took me to Dryden to meet up with my older brother, who was my ride to Ohio, where he lives. I kissed my sweet man goodbye, and we drove through the night (and also through some nasty weather) to my brother's house. He drove me an hour south to meet one of my sister friends, with whom I planned to spend a day with. Mom and my sister traveled to Ohio to pick me up and bring me back to New York where I would spend a few days with them before my husband flew in to join me.
     It was the first time I was away from my husband for more than one night. It was hard, and I hope we don't have to do that very often. But sometimes, when you live so far away from your family, and your husband has to work, then you just have to do what you have to do.
      This is one of my sister friends, Kenni. Well, her name is actually Kendra, but when people call her that, I think, "Umm, who is that?" because ever since we met, she's been Kenni. Her house could win an award for the most creative, most beautifully decorated home, because she's just that creative. She spoils me every time with amazing food (because she's not just creative--she's an amazing cook!), and she also creates these delectable coffee drinks. This time she introduced me to pour-over coffee. I will never be the same. We honestly didn't do much besides drink coffee, hold the baby, and talk and talk and talk. When you only see your best friends once or twice a year, you just need to sit down and do some serious catching up--over a cup of coffee, of course!
      This is Rilan, my honorary nephew. Kenni's hunk of a son. I am honestly not sure if kids come any cuter than this guy. I call him Squishy, because it just seems to be an appropriate nickname for him. I wish you could hear the little giggle he's doing on this picture. You would melt into a little puddle. No joke.
      He's one of the snuggliest children I've ever met. Get a load of those cheeks! I know, I know, proud auntie syndrome. It was so fun to finally meet this darling child!
     I told you she is an amazing cook! This was breakfast on Monday morning: flax pancakes with cream cheese whip and raspberry syrup, breakfast sausage, and scrambled eggs with cheese. Oh, and pour-over coffee. Lots of it. So scrumptious! 
      I hadn't seen my family in 6 months, so it was so, so good to be with them again. Mom and I spent an afternoon with Grandma. Mom was cutting out patches for a comforter, I was doing counted cross-stitch, and Grandma was crocheting tiny little newborn caps for a clinic in Buffalo that helps needy people.
      Have you ever seen such beautiful hands? Her hands have served countless people over many years.
      I made gluten-free cheese biscuits to go with one of my favorite soups. Have any of you ever tried squash soup? It's very simple, made with butternut squash, onions, apples, chicken broth, and some seasonings. Pureed to a creamy smoothness, it is perfect sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
 I love shopping with Mom. Before I was married, she was my favorite shopping buddy. You know how that is with your favorite shopping buddy? You just understand each other, and it makes shopping much more fun. Plus, we always gave each other valuable advice on articles of clothing that we were unsure of. The night that we picked my husband up at the airport, was the afternoon and evening that we did our shopping. It was so fun again. We caught up over dinner at Applebees and got in some more gab time at Panera Bread. Heart-to-heart talks with Mama are always the best, especially when she's right there in front of me.
      A few games of Settlers of Catan commenced while we were there.
      My sister and I made some sugar free "Skinny Chocolate". It was a big hit with everybody, and we even had to ration the pieces!
      My husband and some of my brothers worked on the upstairs of my parents' garage. They actually got quite a bit done, even though it doesn't look like it!

      Mom made the homemade ice cream that she's famous for in those parts. I love how she makes the food she knows I miss when I'm not there. I also love how I caught oldest brother and little sister licking the ice cream paddles. *grin*

      We played lots of games, we ate lots of good food, and after Sunday lunch, we sang together like we always used to when we were all together. It did my soul so much good to sing with my family!

      Photo bombage! Thanks, Louie!
      This is most of the Youngman family. We're missing Daddy, and Sarah Liz. I love these people!
      And this, my beautiful Mama. She is one of the strongest people I know, and I am eternally grateful for her prayers, her love, and her words of life. Not every daughter can say her mom is her best friend, but I'm blessed to  be able to say that.
      Meet Grandpa & Grandma, who live in an apartment attached to my parents' garage. It's so fun to have them right there when we visit.

     I think my husband may or may not have been v-e-r-y thrilled about the pile of soft pretzels steaming on the platter in front of him.
      Meet two of the most precious women in the world to me: my mom, and my only sister. They say we look alike. Agree or disagree?
      Next younger brother took us out to eat at the new restaurant in his town. I seriously couldn't even fit this whole burger in my mouth. The sweet potato fries were amazing drizzled with honey!

      Love this EMT brother of mine who took us out for supper, fed us amazing pie made by Thomas, and gave us Seneca Farms ice cream. And let me tell you, that ice cream tasted like summer in the Finger Lakes--so sweet and delectably creamy.

      I also got to have coffee with this childhood friend of mine. She's the kind of person that you can pick up where you left off, even if you haven't seen her for months. It was awesome, Ria! And guys, just a word about Oak Leaf Cafe where we met for coffee: they make these amazing evil little delicacies called fry pies. They are irresistibly delicious but quite damaging to the waistline, I'm sure. So maybe it's a good thing they're so far away from here.

     And then it was the trip back to Manitoba, where the snow was mostly melted, and it was considerably warmer than when we left. What a refreshing thing to come back to! Oh, and it was pretty fun to fly again. You know, in airplanes. That kind of flying. That is definitely our preferred mode of travel. I wish our bank account would agree with that statement. Just kidding--sort of. *smile* I'm so thankful for the way that God worked it out that we could take this trip. 
     May the rest of your weekend be blessed! 


  1. Lovely to "hear" from you again. Sounds like a great trip.

  2. Its great to see another blog post from you! I'm from Ireland and love to learn about cultures that are so similar but yet so different! Hope you post something again soon :)

  3. godly-young-widow20 April 2015 at 10:56

    Do you eat gluten-free? Or someone in your family? My home-based business is just for that, that's why I'm asking. Glad you had a good time with your family.

    1. My parents eat gluten-free. I try to avoid gluten, but I'm not very religious about it. I am experimenting and educating myself though. I'm currently reading "Wheat Belly" by William Davis, MD. Have you read that book?
      I'd love to hear more about your home business! Do you have a website?

    2. godly-young-widow24 April 2015 at 20:05

      Yes we do. I'm Juanita

    3. Thank you, Juanita! I'll check it out!

  4. Oh Honey!!!!
    Me LOVES this post! So precious! Everything you wrote...just so sweet. I can just imagine all those wonderful times. I'm so glad you got that time with your family.
    Miss you to the moon! See you in...TWO MONTHS!! =)