Friday, December 27, 2013

Feeling Blessed

Ben- home from his first plebe semester at West Point (whew!), Emily- expecting our first grandson in February, Sarah- just graduated from college in 3 and 1/2 years! Very blessed!!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

It's been a while....but today is a good day to write a post.


Veteran's Day. A salute to my soldiers.....





It has been very hard over the years to watch my husband deploy in service to our country.  Now, I am watching our son prepare to do the same at West Point.  It has been very difficult...I am so proud of them.

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 Garden

The lilacs are blooming......the side porch is beckoning....

The folk lore where we live is that sweet peas should be planted on Good Friday. My garden is never ready then. Until this year...I was ready to go! So I planted cabbage, broccoli, and sweet peas right around Ash Wednesday. Forty days too soon! I'm not quite sure what was going through my mind:)

In spite of my errors and some serious frost, or rather freezing, the plants have survived. I added a few plants a couple of weeks ago and everything looks like it is reasonably healthy. We will see...







Monday, April 22, 2013

Of all the places....

Tucker could sit in our yard, he has found his favorite spot...right in the middle of the garden beds that are under construction.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wedding pictures!

Here are a few pictures from our wonderful, special day in January!!!!!!

Before the wedding...

A cake made by a special friend...

Father John's homily...

The Universal Prayer...

My parents were Eucharistic ministers...so very special.

Emily and Bryce could not contain their joy during their vows. We all rejoiced with them.
A beautiful bride...she never stopped smiling.

Very proud and happy parents sharing a dance...
Our three wonderful children.
Happily Ever After...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Progress.....

Flooding and slick roads have us out of school for two days. It's been the perfect opportunity to work on my forty bags. I tackled the kitchen yesterday. Deep cleaning inside and out is both tiring and refreshing. I didn't touch the kitchen last year so it was in dire need of organization.I moved many of the appliances I rarely use to the basement pantry and brought up the canned goods that I use frequently.  I also cleaned out the pots and pans, but didn't take any pictures.  I purged the remaining teflon since I haven't used it in several years.  Anything that didn't get used in the last year was put in the donation box.  Larger dishes that I only use on big family dinner occasions were taken to the basement pantry.

My total bag count to date is eighteen!  I still have a long way to go, but the second half of the kitchen, attic, basement, and garage should surely provide the remaining 22 bags!  Now.....off to clean the other half of the kitchen (including the oven....aghhh!)!

Look at all of those spices!!!! Many are much too old to be useful.

There's a ton of space here....just not being used properly.

An empty slate....bottom first, and then the top....

Much, much better.....ready for cooking!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Murphy Bed

I've been a bit busy for the past week.  We've had two rather major car break downs.  Saturday, my dad went with me (he has a truck) to haul a trailer and one of our cars to the dealer for a major repair. It was much cheaper than a tow and it was very nice time to spend together.  We had lunch, got the car delivered and I stopped to visit with him and my mom on the way home.

He had an exciting thing to share.  I'm sharing his pictures, because I think this is a great example of saving space.  My dad runs his office from home, but also needs extra sleeping space when all of my siblings come to town.  Last year he purchased the hardware for a Murphy bed.  I've seen them on television, but never in person.  The cabinet maker delivered them last week.  Here are the before and after pictures.  They have had the mattress for a while, but now it has a new permanent home.  I just love the way this turned out!
 
Before....
 
 
Installed...
 
Open.....
 
The finished project...with room to spare.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

About Those 40 Bags in 40 Days

Back in 2012 when Lent began, I posted about taking on the 40 Bags in 40 days  challenge here and here.  I mentioned that simplifying our lives was something that has happened over several years.  I made my goal of forty bags and didn't look back. Life was easier and more organized.  I could find things and more importantly, put things away because now,they had a place.

Fast forward to summer break....it was going to be amazing.....80 days off....unheard of for teachers in our area.  Our district scheduled for missing a lot of snow days that just didn't happen so we dismissed early in May.  What would I do with all that time?

I made many lists....set many goals ( I always plan more than I can ever accomplish!)The over-achiever in me had a lot to accomplish.

I spent several weeks traveling and spending time with family, relaxing on the porch, working puzzles and enjoying the pace. The rest of the summer I tackled many projects. Many days I was completely alone and those were my most productive cleaning days.  

Here's what I focused on....I finished cleaning out the downstairs and tackled the basement.  I am somewhat ashamed to post this picture and couldn't make myself do it back in the spring...  But here it is....




It looks like a hoarder picture doesn't it? What is all of that you might ask?  School papers from 18 years of schooling for three children, papers and magazines that needed to be gone through and instead were stashed away before company arrived, two plastic tubs of campaign materials, and reports sent to the state to contact lists from twenty years ago when John first ran for office.  Everytime some "keepsake" would show up, we would say, " We need to save that".  So it would go to the basement to the endless piles of papers.

Add to that, the fact that seven years ago, when we moved into this house, we sold our home so quickly that we didn't go through the normal purge that happens with a move.  We just had to relocate and relocate quickly! Where did we put it?  You guessed it...the basement.

I started on July 8 with this mess and in one week, thirty bags of trash or donations later, my basement looked like this....

We (I) have a lot to still go through. That was just the first purge.  It was easier than I expected. I settled for those giant tubs to make sure nothing really important was damaged by water (we do live in a flood area) or any other potential harm. I still plan on culling from them even more and saving only that which is really important. My goal is to get one small tub for each child and eliminate the others down to two.  It think it can be done!  I also anticipate that the second purge will be more difficult with much harder decisions on what to get eliminate.

Here's the thing.....I cleaned out SEVENTY large kitchen size garbage bags from my house in 2012.  SEVENTY BAGS!!!!!

Here's a picture of my tally marks to keep me going. (After the 40!)



That is both amazing and shameful.  And to be honest.....I could  get rid of many, many more. After school and work started back in August, life went crazy and this basement needs a serious overhaul again.  Things haven't been put back in their place as much as they should have.  Emily's surgery, work, college applications for Ben, and a wedding have taken priority. Putting things back in place along with acquiring quite a lot of decorations from various places led to a complete mess.  Now I need to roll up my sleeves and get things back into shape.

  And so...if you made it this far post without being repulsed by the amount of stuff I have dealt with last summer....here are the things that I have learned.....

*Simplifying life is an ongoing and extremely difficult process. Getting rid of stuff isn't as hard as maintaining. 

*Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of gets easier the more you do it.

*Habits are hard to change.  It has taken almost five months of purging to start to finally shift my shopping attitude.  I still have a long way to go because a good sale is sometimes difficult to pass up even when I should.  I am also guilty of finding something I really like and thinking I need one in every color! I'm still working on this....

Here are the questions I keep in mind as I purge through what I previously thought precious....the overriding question I ask myself is...."What will my children do with this after I'm gone?" Is a house full of stuff the legacy that I want to leave them?  They tease me all the time and tell me I think about death way too much, but I guess it's the historian in me that wants to leave an accurate picture of what life really meant to me.

As Lent approaches again, I can't wait to get started. My work last year did make a difference in my life. I'm so happy with the changes. And so....I'm at seventy and counting.....I'm still going to keep a tally. This year I'll start again with my 40 Bags in 40 Days project.  Without this purging...I will miss what is really important.  I will miss the time to say "Yes!" to doing something instead of trying to sort through "stuff".






Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ice Tide

     I just recently learned that the "old timers" call the winter floods in this area "ice tides". The ground is saturated and we have already missed five days of school in 2013 because of flooding. Too many roads are blocked by high water to run the buses. It has been very wet and cold. Spring flooding will be much worse this year because of these conditions.

     These two pictures were taken from our city park. On the other side of the river you can see the flood wall that protects the town. The water started to recede as you can see the dark area with no snow. You can also see one of the benches John and I like to visit in the summer half way covered with water. The other bench we visit is under water.

 



Here is a picture of me standing on a rock in this same river in late summer. I would be twenty-five feet under water!
Quite a different picture!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Friend's Passing

John and I spent Monday evening at the hospital with our dear neighbor and friend.  Mr. B. didn't have any children and relied on those around him  to help him as he aged.  He didn't need much help and was adamant about doing everything himself.  At 94, he was active walking and managing his affairs. He passed quickly on Monday night.  The Lord was merciful in that he did not suffer long.

Mr. B was a man of honor. He served his country during World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters.  During the Korean Conflict, he answered the call again.  He served as a medic and I'm sure saw many, many, things that were difficult to forget from the shores of Normandy to the beaches of the Pacific.  He never spoke of his service and refused to be honored for it by our community.

When he returned home, he was our town's mail carrier.  He knew everyone and everyone knew him.  He flirted with the ladies and they flirted with him until he found the one true love of his life.  She passed away from cancer after thirty years of marriage.  She's been gone since 1986.
He missed her dearly and spoke of her often.

Until the last few years, he could out walk anyone.  He walked in all kinds of weather. Younger generations only know him as the man who walked so much. When he felt he couldn't drive safely any more, he stopped.  He took computer classes and kept up on current events. 
 He believed in doing the right thing, and always made sure that he did it.

Mr. B. was a very private person and few people could get close to help him. We feel honored that we were included in that very small circle.  Saturday we will lay him to rest.  We will miss him.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Beginning

We are traveling today with a car load of wedding gifts and Emily's dog to her home. Bryce and Emily return this evening from a week long beach honeymoon. What an exciting time for them!

I remember when John and I returned from our honeymoon. It was such a mixed bag of feelings....excitement at beginning our new life together, opening gifts together ( my parents dropped them in our apartment just as we are doing), and dreading the grind of work the next day. Reality can be both good and bad at times.

Coming back from vacation is usually like that though isn't it? We are always happy to be home, but miss the escape that vacations provide.

I am so excited for these two.....I hope that they have the years of happy marriage that John and I have been blessed with!

To new beginnings......


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Faith and Fellowship

The church on Thursday afternoon...ready for the ceremony.

Cutting the cake.....


Saturday we watched as our oldest daughter joined a very special young man on a journey of a lifetime.  We were surrounded by so many special people in a breathtakingly spiritual ceremony followed by wonderful fellowship and joyful celebration.  Words just can't express it...

I wish I had more pictures to share, but as they filter in from all my friends and the photographer, I'll write a wedding post.

The past few months have been incredibly busy.  
 This week I'm slowing down, assessing a lot of things, and making plans for the future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Year

The New Year is here and starting out in a whirlwind for us.  In a few short weeks, our oldest will be married.  Wedding preparation is full steam ahead.

Yesterday, I  enjoyed the quiet and took time to look ahead through the months to come and reflect on what a good year 2012 was for our family.  We had wonderful family times, a graduation followed by an engagement, a retirement, and a new beginning. Many things stayed the same, and some constants are good things. 

In 2013 I have a lot of things I'd like to accomplish, but don't want to take them on before it is time.  I'm going to just enjoy the next few super busy weeks.  A wedding is a lifetime event....one to cherish.