30 Minutes in the Life: August 2021

I feel like I want to say how did we get to August, but truthfully I want to say I survived this awful, stressful year up to August.

It’s been a hard year which really started in November of 2020 when Richard started feeling ill, but it was only in February, at my insistence, that he went to the ER and was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma. I have to be honest that this rocked my world. If I didn’t have to be strong for the kids and for Richard I would have just melted down in a puddle. The day he asked me for his will prior to surgery, sent my BP up over the top. It took me a while to figure out that they wanted his living will. At the same time we found out that Amy was pregnant. In March she was deemed a high risk pregnancy, which just added to the stress of Richard’s diagnosis. In April my beloved Hoo, my rescue Quaker Parakeet died. I was devastated. He kept me in routine and I was able to have such laughter with him in the crazy moments. In May, my brother had an adverse result to some tests he had. He had been my rock in the previous months and it felt like the bottom of my world had just fallen away. Praise God, he was cleared of any further adverse results. Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong my brother’s wife was admitted to hospital with Colon Cancer. Surgery was done and they believe that they managed to get everything but she is now on chemo. Tests will tell her story moving forward. I was almost out of July, and thinking I had survived the month, when I was exposed and tested positive for covid. Ugh so close. August has brought us additional concerns with Richard. He found some lumps at the base of the neck which we think are lymph glands. Ultrasound is inconclusive and so we just wait and see. I don’t want to know what September is going to dish up….. But in October we have some exciting news.

In the midst of all of this drama, there has been an exciting happening and that is the advent of our first grandchild. In July and August, I began prepping for a baby shower. Baby showers these days a very different to baby showers in my days. I remember having a few friends over and my mom made a couple of cakes and some savories and there was chips and dip. This baby shower was a little different.

Amy asked if it could be a more formal event, sit down seating and a theme and games and prizes and such things. She wanted it to be nice. I was extremely grateful to her two friends who were a tremendous help setting up and prepping everything the day before and the morning of the event.

And so I began planning. What does it look like. Pinterest became my friend. Amy is very into nature and animals and so we settled on a succulent theme and I began to design artwork around the theme, and look at colors that worked with nature. She also wanted it to be a couples event.

Fortunately I have table cloths and chair covers from Cameron’s wedding rehearsal, and Amy’s wedding that we had at home. Once again I borrowed tables and chairs, and then settled on green and champagne colored tie backs. On the center of the table, I wanted to keep the decorations low and only have one center bromide that stood higher. I ran a burlap strip down the table, then added moss (from home depot), and pebbles, along with fake air-plants, succulent candles in vases, along with the cutest little takeaway succulents in pots with a “Watch me grow” sign.

In addition I added mini vases tied with string and a tiny daisy flower with baby’s breath. The vases just softened and added color to the tables to match the bromide. Setting were placemats of stiffened burlap, and real plates, and silver wear, along with a real napkin folded to try and resemble a succulent. At the end of that we had table settings for 22 people.

This was a beautiful outside setting, the weather was perfect, but extremely hot, so at the last minute we headed up to their old condo and borrowed the outdoor umbrella’s to create some shade. Fortunately one of the board members was at the baby shower and made that a lot easier to do.

Balloons were tied to the mail box and at the front entrance, and as guests walked inside they were welcomed to the baby shower and handed a mimosa. Since I do not like orange juice, I gave them a choice of orange, peach, or grapefruit. If they did not like that then we also gave them the option of just champagne. To be precautious we had hand sanitizer and masks.

In my days prior to the baby shower, I created a diaper cake with succulents and wild animals, and we decided to have a raffle for anyone who brought an extra bag of diapers. The winning prize was a bottle of wine, an aerator, an opener and some ice cubes.

This is not a great image due to an old phone, but I also created a books for baby section, using a tool box as his book box, and making him some wildlife on trains book ends.

I had various stations situated around the main congregating area, like the baby is brewing. We did the “How big is mommy’s belly”, which her father won when he measured his own. I had built a shadow box using his ultrasound, and a series of wooden balloon shaped cut outs, to create a balloon collage that the guests could write their names on and a onesie that they could write messages. I also set out a bin of diapers for them to write a “late night message”. It was quite fun reading all of them.

The food was all home made and put together in a space of 5 hours. The menu consisted of yoghurt parfaits, veggie & dressing cups, a charcuterie board, a fruit platter, Tostito’s with guacamole and a slice of tomato, quiche, sausage rolls, brie bites, tomato and onion pasteries, meatballs with chilli, chicken and pineapple skewers in a mango sauce, cocktail sausages in maple bacon, and last but not least a variety of burgers.

Dessert was cake, succulent decorated cupcakes (which took me 4 hours to create), the cheese board, macaroons, strawberries in white chocolate, and a fondue. There was a lot of food.

In-between lunch and dessert, we had games – what’s in your phone, baby milestones, baby bingo, and some predictions for when Luka makes his debut. But right now he is a baby in bloom. Added to that were a few more prizes for the winners of the games.

Last but not least, it was present time. The balloon arch was fun blowing up. There had to have been about 50-75 balloons that needed to be blown up. Fortunately I bought hand pumps. The boxes were so cute, and filled with balloons. I added the animals because we are South African and I wanted little Luka to have a connection to his family culture. The crib has a 90 year old history in my husbands family line, and I filled it with all the smaller presents (probably most of which I had had fun buying). I know that by the end of the present opening Amy and Daniel were exhausted, overwhelmed and spoiled. She said there was very little that she needed to buy for the baby.

Putting the baby shower together for them was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun, and it certainly distracted me from the bad news of this year. I am super excited to meet this little man in the October when he makes his debut. It feels like just the other day Richard and I were adding a new generation. Now our new generation is ushering in a newer generation. I can’t wait.

Thank you for joining me for another 30 Minutes in the Life. This is a circle blog. While this is a culmination of more than 30 minutes, I believe these photo’s were taken in about 30 minutes when I realized I had not taken any. It’s a small circle this month. Please follow the link to see what my very talented friend Kim of One Ordinary Life, has to share this month.

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Share Six: January 2021: Details

Welcome to 2021 and the 5th year of blogging with Share Six. Have I mentioned that I love blogging with these ladies. They are extremely talented and certainly push me to a new level. As we start this new year 3 of our team have gone into lockdown in the UK. It is tough and it may find us restricting our choices again to things we can either do at home or in our gardens. Keep them in your thoughts. Another of our team is a teacher and it has been hard for her to juggle all of the happenings.

{Details} is the theme that Lynne of Lynne Grant Photography has chosen for this months blog. Details for me are all the extra details. I wrote a blog and then at the last hour, I changed my mind and went with what I had photographed on Sunday. I have been going to the local Loxahatchee National Park recently to photograph a Great Horned Owl. The male is sometimes there when I go, the female is sitting in the nest. A friend had also seen Screech Owl. Sunday afternoon I decided to go and see if I could see the screech owls. No such luck. The park has a small boardwalk. It is not the greatest walk. There are no birds, occasionally I see signs of a larger critter but I never see one. I may see dragonfly every so often. Right now everything is brown and there is not a lot going on. I also had the beast which ideally shoots 150-600mm. Not really meant for close up. However since I was there I decided to do the boardwalk. I was going to use my twist but could not seem to get it to stay in the housing. So I pulled the beast back out and captured what I liked.

Shooting leaves in this very shallow depth of field is one of my favorite genre. I love that little sliver of focus and all the little details that show up. I also love the creaminess of the images. The board walk is really mossy and so most of these leaves were sitting on the moss. I loved the texture of the moss.

While it is not a great walk. I did enjoy the opportunity to do one of my favorite style of images.

I hope that you enjoy the details theme. This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My friend Katherine of Cobert Photography is up next. I would encourage to have a look at what she has to offer. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page.

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