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Today is my dad’s birthday.

While he’s no longer with us, and hasn’t been for a while, his presence is felt everyday. It’s the little things, remembering something that we did together, or how he was such a kids himself, particularly when it came to Christmas and presents or some story that someone tells. He loved having fun and I sometimes catch a glimpse of him in my own boys and it makes me smile. I used to give him a ride back and forth to work and honestly, it was a nice part of my day when I was still living at home and he was working. It was just the two of us and he was always happy to hear about what I had planned or what had happened. It was, in some respects, our time. I miss it and I miss him. No one can ever fill the hole that is left when someone who was a part of you and your life passes away.

I so wish he were still here. He would be so very, very proud of his grandchildren and how his family has blossomed.

Happy Birthday Daddy – We love you and we miss you!

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I have not had a whole lot of luck growing sunflowers which is pretty frustrating considering just about everyone else can grow these flowers like weeds. For whatever reason, they have been a gardening challenge – either birds or other critters have eaten the seeds before they could germinate or the plants didn’t seem to thrive and never flowered. This year, however, I have sunflowers! Not a lot, just three plants but they are beautiful.

Here are some pictures – seems I’m not the only one that appreciates these beautiful flowers.

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How does your garden grow? This year, I must say I am pretty pleased with my garden. In years past, it has either been too big and gotten out of control by this time of the year or we have been away or busy and it has gotten overgrown and weedy to the point of disgust. This summer we are enjoying being around here and consequently, we have been tackling a lot of yard work. I enjoy popping in my headphones and getting out there and weeding or just sitting down and weeding without the tunes, enjoying the sunshine and the summer breeze that always seems to exist in our neck of the woods.

Here are some garden pictures I’m happy to share with you.

Purple Habanero Peppers

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Pablano Peppers

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Corn – This will be a first, thanks to the generosity of a friend and neighbor who shared his seedlings.

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The Garden looking east

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The Garden looking west

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Today our youngest turns 17. How time flies, seems like only yesterday he was placed in my arms. Funny though how life comes around full circle. When Tim was born, or actually the night prior to his birth, when Tom was putting TJ into his pjs we discovered that he had chicken pox, which appeared like magic over the course of an hour or so. Since I was very pregnant and overdue, wherever one brother was, the other was too, so there was no question that Tyler had been exposed. I went into the hospital the next day and the other two boys had an extended stay with Mimi and Poppy. When Tim came home 48 hours later from the hospital, he was the only kid in the Heffernan house since it would be about another week or so before we could see the boys and they could meet their new little brother. Having just one newborn in the house after a house of two toddlers was like a piece of cake. I think that my husband’s words were something to the effect that he could strap the newborn on his back and climb a mountain with no worries and no great effort. In a few weeks, his two brothers will be going off to college and Tim will once again have our undivided attention for a while.

To say that I am proud of Tim and the young man he has become is an understatement. He constantly amazes me and in the words of his brother, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for his future. He has a big year…senior year… ahead of him.

We celebrated short one brother. Tim and his girlfriend made his birthday dessert, Tiramisu which was delicious. Here are some pictures of the day.

Happy Birthday Tim — we love you!

 

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We have all heard the stories and perhaps, sadly, even know of people who are forced to eat cat food or dog food because they cannot afford human food. But have you taken a stroll through your local pet food store lately? The food is not inexpensive and the ingredient lists read like menus from your local restaurant. Trying to raise awareness about the diets of humans and pets, one pet woman is pledging to eat only pet food for 30 days. Dorothy Hunter, the owner of Paws National Pet Emporium in Richmond, Washington believed that the products she sells folks for their pets are actually better than human’s processed foods, so much so that she’s going to eat that herself.

It started when she just grabbed a bag of treats off the shelf while she was working and gave them a taste. Stating that the treats were pretty good, she thought this was something she could do.

Watch and listen as this lady explains ….. She is journaling her diet every meal on You Tube.

 

 

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Today is both a sad day and a happy day. It is sad because it is the day, 13 years ago that we lost my dad suddenly. Life changed and there is forever an empty hole in our hearts. Tom and I often talk about how we wish he were here, commenting how he would have loved our Vermont house and friends. We often came to Vermont to vacation when I was little and perhaps my dad was responsible for planting the seed that grew into a life that I absolutely love.

His passing was sudden and unexpected. I would give anything to give him one more hug. Those of you that know me, know exactly how much his death affected me, as well as my whole family. I often wonder what he would say if he saw the boys now, practically grown men, but I am sure that he would be very proud to call them his grandsons.

Here are pictures of my dad with each of the little men, in age order. Miss you, love you, Daddy.

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Miss you, love you, Daddy.

Somehow, the universe has a way of helping ease the pain. The first little girl in our lives, my niece Emily, was born to my brother and sister-in-law on this day, six years ago. I’d like to think that she’s my dad’s way of sending us his love. Her beautiful big brown eyes are filled with love.

Happy Birthday Miss Emily!

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We’ve been busy around here. We had a high school graduation for our middle son. Tyler graduated last week and I couldn’t be prouder, despite feeling old. Hard to believe that time has flown by in the blink of an eye. Seems like only yesterday we were celebrating his graduation from kindergarten and had this great picture with his brothers

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and this past week, he graduated from high school and we have this picture with his brothers (same positioning by the way)

 

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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? ~ Henry David Thoreau

I do not ask the wounded person how he feels. I myself become the wounded person.  ~ Walt Whitman

Why is it that we are sometimes incredibly touched by the loss of a person that we never met. I am not referring to a celebrity or some other person commanding the media spotlight. Rather, a person I have never met or spoken to, but only knew vicariously through another. Perhaps, that incredible human connection, empathy, is all we need to feel the pain and loss of others in order to understand the blessings that we have in our own lives. Sometimes, it is a matter of putting your life into some sense of perspective and realizing that, if not for some finger of fate, the loss and pain could be yours.

Empathy is a quality that is one of the most important to instill in an individual. Sometimes, it is not necessary to say anything, just to listen. Sometimes in feeling another’s pain or loss, we can become a better person and be more grateful for our own experiences and we can offer support that words are sorely inadequate to convey. As you wander through your day, realize that we do not know another’s journey through life but if we did, maybe -just maybe — we would be more understanding and make the world, or at least our little corner of it, a much better place.

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We have a very empty house. My youngest son’s companion of more than twelve years left us very unexpectedly last week. Her departure has left us with a very large hole in our hearts. While she loved each and every one of us, she loved Tim the most, with her entire heart and soul — and he loved her back just exactly the same. Her death is very surreal and difficult for all of us to accept. We keep walking into the house or a room and looking for her. After all, for her whole life and a good chunk of ours, she was around. It took me a long while to decide whether or not to write this post. I didn’t want to share our grief, our very, very personal sadness with the world. I was being selfish, because honestly I didn’t want to have to field all the “I’m sorrys” as heartfelt as they were, because they couldn’t help to make the sadness in our hearts go away. In thinking about it, long and hard, I realized that I was wrong. Jinx was a good dog – no, she was a great dog — and she deserves a proper eulogy. So here goes….

She came into our lives an energetic and adorable black lab puppy. She grew up with Tim and the two of them shared so many good times and so much snuggling and cuddling. He wanted desperately, as a tiny guy to have her be “his dog” and there is absolutely no question that she was. She loved him with every ounce of her being and he gave the same huge amount of love back to him.  If there could be such a thing as a “perfect” death, she had it. She died in his arms and his face was the last one she saw. Tom and I swear that she waited for him, although don’t get me wrong, we had no idea that she was going to die. She had been asleep on the couch in my office, as she usually was during a “work day” and he came home early from school because of testing, anxious to share a beautiful day by taking her for a swim which is something she adored. They never made the swim, in fact, they never made it out the door. She collapsed and died just a few minutes later, within minutes of his arrival home. She was a smart dog, she kept us on schedule for dinner (6 p.m. was the time she decided dinner should be served) and she was always quick to let us know what she wanted and what she didn’t. If she was being pesky and we thought she had to go out, she was quick to back up and lay down when we tried to open the door and let her out telling us we had gotten it wrong. She had Tom and I on a schedule, our lunch was always the time for her snack. She would patiently wait for us to finish eating and then “urge” us to get up and give her a well deserved (in her opinion of course) snack. She loved cucumber almost as much as meat and you couldn’t break out anything crunchy without her coming running from across the house to share it with you. If we left her outside too long, she would come and stand at the window in the living room, staring at us, until we let her back inside. I’m sure that if she could figure out how to open the door herself, she would have done that as well. She enjoyed trips to the transfer station or any outing in the car and she loved being boarded at Wundrland, she would go crazy, whining and crying, when we mentioned the name.  She loved all of us but would go absolutely crazy when Tim got home from a trip, especially last summer when he was gone for weeks at a time. She was my work buddy and lived for “let’s go to work” where she would promptly follow me into my office and take her place on the couch while I worked. She loved keeping the chipmunks that live around the house on the their toes and would run after the squeaking noise the second she heard it. She loved, loved, loved frisbee and swimming with Tim as well as anytime that she was able to snuggle up with him. She was very special to us and can never be replaced. In addition to the obvious, one of the things that always strikes me about death, is the words that will cease to be spoken. I remember when my dad died since that day, no one has every referred to me as “baby” or “my little girl”. Those words died along with my dad, never to be spoken again. Similarly, there are words that will never be uttered again in this house “jinxy dawg”,”let’s go to work”, “back up the truck” or “beep, beep, beep” when she used to try to go backwards around the coffee table. I hope that with these words and pictures, I have done her justice. We gave her a good home and she gave us a lifetime of love. What more can either of us ask for? Rest in peace, puppy dog — you deserve it.  

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Last night I undertook a new challenge. I made homemade pierogies. The other night we had chicken and mashed potatoes so I had some leftover mashed potatoes and decided that I should give this a try. I made my own pierogi dough which was amazingly quite simple. Then I took those leftover mashed potatoes, heated them a few minutes in the microwave and stirred in some grated cheddar cheese and seasoned them with salt, pepper and onion powder. I started the whole process at 4:15 and by 6:15 we were eating some pretty decent pierogies. I am sure that mine pale in comparison to those made by those with some Polish blood coursing through their veins but I am pretty satisfied with my first time outcome.

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Last night, we had the privilege of watching Tim being inducted into the National Honor Society. We are very proud of Tim and his successes. We joined the other very proud parents who were there to witness the candlelight induction ceremony. Here are some photos of last night’s ceremony.

 

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Tim with some of his fellow WES attendees posing for a photo.

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I remember the day vividly. The day that my life changed forever….in a wonderful way. I woke this morning 19 years ago to start a journey that will last a lifetime. My water broke at 6 a.m. and we were off on the journey of a lifetime. Later that evening, at 9:47, when he was good and ready, my first baby made his way into this world, making me a mom. It is so hard to believe that 19 years have passed since that day. The journey has flashed by but it has been a wonderful trip, full of laughter, smiles, hugs, tears and growing pains.  Looking at the young man he has become, a mom can be nothing but heart-bursting proud. Today is a hard birthday (for me) though since it will be the first time in his entire life, that I won’t be there to personally give him a birthday hug and kiss. (Mind you I got those in over the weekend). He will however, be in my thoughts the entire day – after all, how could he not be?

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© Happenings on the Hill,
http://tammyheff.wordpress.com
2012.
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