Category Archives: home

A Winter Walk That Renders Her Useless

Sometimes it takes awhile for our country boys to plow our rural roads.  And sometimes this renders husband stranded at the bottom of a very long hill. Come home early, I always say.  But he pays no mind.  And after many attempts (it’s a man thing) the car has to stay at the bottom of the hill and mama has to drive down with the van to rescue husband (it’s a girl thing.)

Then in the morning daddy goes to work and mama goes to get the car.  He offered to drop me off, but Paige and I decided we wanted a winter walk adventure.  In reality, I really needed to move and get out of the house.
We admired the hearty forsythia

And mighty pines
With very little snow last year, it makes me happy to see the white fluffy stuff.  Even though, for the sixth year in a row our mailbox has been hit by the snow plow and is now, once again, bungee-corded on.  It’s classy, I tell you.  Mailboxes in New Hampshire could be a post by itself.

And we were off…
But first we had to go back and get a shovel when daddy called and apologetically said, “you’re going to need a shovel to get the car out.”

We were up for the job!  I use nothing but a baby shovel as the biggun’s have it out to ruin my back.

When was the last time you watched the sun come up?  Here it just peeks out…good morning…

And in mere minutes it was all the way up…GOOD MORNING! it sang. It was quite miraculous to me,how fast it came

Paige took the hardest route possible – by walking in the deep and heavy snowbanks whereas I played it safe and walked on the road.  I think she had more fun.

Though before we were even half-way there she was exhausted. Plus, she really wasn’t feeling well.  A terrible fever has been making the rounds.  

She begged to be carried, but holding a shovel (and a camera) rendered the mother quite exhausted in seconds.  Five-year-olds are rather heavy.

I admire the leaves that hang on

I kept making sure the sun was still there…it was…peeking, scattered through trees
Carrying large boulders of snow seemed like a good idea

This doesn’t look like a big dig-out, but I tell you I was sweating by the time I was done.  
By the time we arrived back home, Paige threw herself into a snowbank.  Exhausted!  But mama smiled, feeling good to have walked in the winter with her girl.

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Be a Domestic Goddess: How to Can Peaches

Today, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, there is a rooster crowing through the windows of my bedroom.  That’s not what woke me from my nap (that would be Brynne). Gregor does not enjoy rooster, but I rather like him.  He makes me feel all country.  And the rooster seems to set the scene for my newest domestic experience:  Canning peaches.

I loooove canned peaches but have never attempted to can them myself because that’s a wee bit scary and way over my head domestically.  My friend, Kate, cans peaches and if I’m extra nice she gives me a few jars a year and my life is filled with song.

She kept telling me that it wasn’t hard.  Kate is the one that taught me how to can applesauce.  It is now something I must do every single October.  But I remained doubtful regarding peaches as Kate is the domestic goddess.  What is easy for her is a chicken enchilada disaster for me.  I could be very successful, I’m sure, if I only followed her around and took pictures of the things she can create in her kitchen.

I can be barefoot and I can be pregnant, even at the same time, but canning peaches…mmmm…too much work.  And I heard it was sticky.  Like all over your kitchen sticky.  Instantly unappealing.  I have enough trouble keeping the kitchen clean.

Well, the other day Kate gave me a call.  I wanted peaches, right?  Help was on the way!  A 48lb box for $20, was delivered to my doorstep and the rarely accessed domestic goddess button began buzzing away in my brain.  The manuscript was set aside.  Oh my…have you ever smelled a giant box of peaches?  The aroma alone can spin you right into an apron with your hair in a messy bun, and water boiling on the stove.

Canning Peaches was Googled immediately and Kate was put on call, standing by, if an emergency arose.

Mmmm…doesn’t the sight make you just feel domestic?  Like, what in the world do you do with all those peaches?  But you’ve already got Step 1 done:  Get your peaches.
Step 2:  Wash jars and lids.  I had jars from moving my mother’s across the country many years ago but you can buy them many places including the grocery store and Wal-mart.  My tip:  Buy the WIDE MOUTH jars.  Much easier to work with.
Step 3:  In a big pot, boil water.  This I can do!
Step 3:  Prepare Sugar Solution.  Peaches are packed in a sugar and water solution.  Sugar helps improve flavor, stabilize color, and retain fruit shape.  Thank you, Google.  I wanted less sugar so my syrup was this:  2 Cups Sugar, 6 Cups Water.  Bring to boil.  Turn down to low and keep hot.    

Step 4:  Wash Peaches.
So far, so good.  I was comforted by the thought that if worse came to worse, and I ruined these beauties, we could just throw them into Gregor’s morning Vitamix concoction.

Step 5:  Throw peaches in boiling water for 20-45 seconds. 

Step 6:  With a slotted spoon, remove peaches and put them in an ice and water bath.  Why?  The skins just roll right off.  Lovely.  The website told me to save the peelings for peach honey. Um, no. They were gladly composted.
Step 7:  After skin is rolled off (the most time-consuming part of whole project), cut peaches into halves or quarters.  To keep the fruit from browning you can sprinkle with lemon juice or Fruit Fresh.  Or, you don’t have to, it’s purely for aesthetics.
Step 8:  It’s time to Hot Pack!  Hot packing is safer than cold packing, so I chose this route.  Just put your cut peaches into the sugar solution from Step 3 for a little less than 5 minutes.  
   

Step 9:  Fill jars!  Pack them in nice and tight.  I couldn’t believe I’d come so far.  Trying to avoid mushy peaches, I moved quickly.  After the first batch of jars were filled, Step 10:  Fill your big ol’ canning pot with water to boil.  I included the link because it does help to have the funnel and the tongs.  I have the tongs, not the funnel.
Here we have my mother’s mason dome lids bought in the 70’s.  The outside smelled like mildew, the inside lids were as pristine as can be.
Step 11:  Water Bath.  Right before putting on lids, sprinkle a little Fresh Fruit on top if you like.  Then, put on lids and put jars in boiling water bath for at least 20 minutes.  No more than 30.  You’ll know they are done if you press on the jar and it doesn’t “pop” back at you.

Step 12:  Enjoy the fruit of your labor…for real.  17 jars, 3 hours, many smiles and unbelieving gasps.
Yes, you too can be a domestic goddess a few times a year.  This definitely counts, don’t you think? 
What’s the last new thing you tried?  I would love to hear.
Oh, and the kitchen was sticky, but that’s what slaves children are for.  They were gladly bribed with peaches.

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Tossing this, keeping that

I’m getting so good at throwing stuff out.  Really husband, I am.  I had an epiphanic moment the other day:  Just because we have space, doesn’t mean we have to cram it full of STUFF.  Get it out.  I like to think the house is going through a great purge.  
We don’t have central air (why are New Hampshirites so against this wonderful invention?) hence, we have our windows open all summer, spring, and fall.  Wonderful for that fresh air feeling, not so wonderful for those horrid allergies.  When humidity hits in August, it feels like we’re sitting on a wet couch all month.  I want to roll on the floor and have a great tantrum.  
Instead of the coming tantrum, we got a new couch and chair.  A leather couch and chair.  It seemed to be the right choice since our children are older.  No one has thrown up, or peed on, the couch in ages.  With leather, there are no dust mites for us to battle with.  With one nice swipe, messes can be cleaned.  I wanted to go red leather or green or bright yellow or cream leather.
We went brown.  Because we still actually do have children in the house.  I wish it was lighter, but there it is.  The problem is now I need new couch pillows, lamps, accoutrements!
Now we have to sell the red couch.  In the meantime, we didn’t know where to put it, so we put it in the kitchen.  Alas, all our craig’s list offers fell through last week.  We haven’t eaten at the kitchen table for a week as there is no room in the inn.  Forget what I said about the vomit and pee above, YOU want this couch, don’t you?  This should probably not be a side note, but I was ever-faithful at washing everything after unseemly incidents.  
The irony is that we all love to go sit on the old couch instead of the new couch.  I lay down on it at 2 for my 20-minute power nap (I’m serious, it works wonders), Paige reads on it, Cope snuggles into the corner with a good book.  But I’m afraid the couch in the kitchen has made for a rather cluttered feeling. 
On other tossing topics, I went to town in the study.  Toss, toss.
Paige got bored and did some yoga while waiting for me.

I tend to take everything out instead of concentrating on one area at a time.  It’s a flaw, I know.  I’m trying to do better.  This room is now CLEAN! and a much more lovely place to be.

But I do have some trouble tossing certain items.  I had two full shelves of anatomy & physiology texts, health books, bio texts, lab notes, conditioning drills, nutrition.  I have a strong emotional attachment to many of these books, many of which I used in college.
But we have run out of space and some books I never look at.  I decided two shelves must be whittled down to one.
I looked through all my lab books, remembering the hours of practice, drilling, quizzing, worrying, walking to class with my sister.  We still say that A&P class with the cadavers was the best class we ever took.  How could I part with the lab books?  But did I need six of them?  I bargained with self:  Take pictures and then toss.  This is the exciting part of this post:

Ah yes, being arm deep in adipose tissue, muscle, and arteries – who would have thought it would be at the top of my college experience?  You know, when you can say sternocleidomastoid and know where it is and what it does, you feel smart.  That’s a huge piece of education.  Competence = confidence.
None of the knowledge was wasted education.  I may not be able to name every bone in the foot anymore, but I can still spout anatomy phrases at choice moments.  I can discuss the obliques with the best of them.  And when my children incorrectly use the words Rectum, Colon or Anus (these are hilarious words for a child), this mama can set them straight.  And then it’s not nearly so hilarious.  We are all about being anatomically correct around here.
I gave away a large pile of books, but snuck that lab packet back on the shelf.  It fit perfectly, like it was meant to be there all along.
Other items hard to toss?  My college CDs.
I went through a big country phase in college. Hey, I went to school in Idaho. I was bound to love the cowboy.  Could I have married a man farther removed from being a cowboy?  That husband of mine likes to roll his eyes at my “country crap.”  Offensive!  However, we are making progress.  The other day we had a long conversation about what he would like to do if he weren’t doing the job he’s doing.  Trucker? Business exec?  Lawyer?  Florist?  CIA agent?  Airforce?  Plumber?  Landscaping?  Accounting?  NBA basketball coach?  He shook his head at every profession I threw at him.  Until I said, “cowboy on a ranch.”  
“That would be fun.  Maybe when I’m retired.”  That my friends, was exactly the right answer.  I always knew the cowboy and I were going to end up together.  
I gave away all of the above (and more!) except for Working Girl because it has a special place in my heart regarding a certain college cross-country try-out I miserably failed at.
What the heck do I do with 200 Garbage Pail Kid stickers?  I still don’t know.

Something else I have a hard time letting go of?  Calendars.  I started taking pictures of dates…all the way back to 1997 when Gregor and I were dating.  “Pick up rings,” and “Matt show” when Matt Nathanson was just starting out, playing to the college crowds.  There’s our wedding date, starting our first job at Proctor Academy, all those Wed. and Saturday soccer games, all the indoor soccer games with Meredith, Mindy, Ale, and Megan.  History.
There’s the calendars when Cope and Nelson were babies, when they started talking.  Cope said the funniest things:  “Satan made me do it.”  Woah.  And, “If Gaston is good, I will share my snack with him.”  

And then Nelson was jumping off of everything, jumping out of his play-pen, saying “Mama,” and “Ca-ca” for cracker.  My intention was to record these events and then toss the calendars.  But I couldn’t do it.  I put them right back in the closet.  I did give away bags and bags of stuff, swear.  And I am getting better, husband, at cleaning out some things.  Just not all.  I don’t believe I’m the only one with this problem…?

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Where’s the Pineapple?

Oh there it is…

Taken off the counter by Brynne and assembled into a lovely centerpiece on the living room floor.  “A Pineapple and Company,” featuring a candle (stolen off the counter), a glass rabbit, a plastic dog house and wagon.  All assembled on a plaid doll house skirt.  I’m thinking I should let her be in charge of interior design around here.

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Unemployed

In six months I will be unemployed.

I knew this day would come, even though some days, it couldn’t come fast enough.  But now that it’s almost here I feel like yelling “WAIT!  I’m not ready yet!”  I don’t want to send out resumes.  I don’t want to “brush up on neglected skills.”  I already have the job I want.

I’ll need some severance pay.

I will definitely need counseling.

In six months my blue-eyed four-year-old, Paige, goes to school.

I know, it’s not like I quit being a mom just because my children are in school.  It can be a full-time job keeping a house running smoothy, even when the kids are in school.  There is always plenty to do.

I know I’m a bit too sentimental, someone who romanticizes the past far too easily, but I haven’t forgotten the hard days.  I clearly remember days of colic, throwing up, changing wet underwear every single hour, losing mittens, wet-wipes, all that snow gear, stumbling in the dark to find the darn pacifier, trying to  shower alone, my arm going numb from carrying a heavy child up the hill.  I used to wonder why I was so very tired.  I often thought, just let me lie down.  And then finally the baby started sleeping through the night and I began to feel somewhat normal again.

There were bad days, but there were a lot more good ones.  There were boring, slow days, but there were exciting, adventurous ones too.  There were tears and tantrums, but there were rocking chairs and thumb-sucking.  There were those big innocent eyes that told me there was no one else they loved so much.

I’m determined to enjoy these last few months with my last child at home all day.  We will have a grand time.  But I’m also thankful kindergarten is only three hours.  Thank you thank you thank you it’s only three hours.  I can do three hours…I used to dream of a quiet house and now I’m terrified of the feeling.

With each child before, that marched off to school, I was always so happy to see them jump off the little yellow school bus and run right back to me.  Three hours apart was plenty for the both of us.  And I know, we will both adjust.

I didn’t put Paige in a preschool mostly because I didn’t want her to leave.  You see, we have this ideal symbiotic relationship.  She likes me, I like her.  It’s quite perfect.  We do letters and reading.  We count.  We share.  We say please and thank you.  We do those great PBS Arthur puzzles and play the princess matching game until I can’t take it anymore.  We play games I don’t like (Hi-Ho Cheery-O!) and she sorts silverware because I ask.  We go for walks, play with others, put band-aids on baby dolls.  We cook muffins and fold laundry.  We lay in bed sick together.  We rarely argue.  And when we do she’s always the first to apologize.  Who needed preschool?

In fact, a certain person in the family (I don’t like to name names on this blog 🙂 insist it’s gone way too far, that someone is a wee bit too attached.  No matter where I’m sleeping Paige will find me.  If I’m in bed she will stand up, in the middle of the night, with her eyes closed and find me.  Then she snuggles up and all is well in her world.  She is so big now that it drives that other person in the bed nuts.  She is also a very crazy sleeper.  She flops to the right, flops to the left; it’s rare that her head stays on the pillow.  Usually it’s her feet next to my nose.  That other adult in the bed gets pushed to the side and then his back hurts.  If I fall asleep on the couch downstairs she will find me at some point during the night.  If I’m out the door early to run, and she wakes up, she cries until I come home.

I have not discouraged this co-sleeping arrangement.  Those poor older children were always put right back in bed after the age of 2:  You are too big. There isn’t room.  Because there was always another baby in the bed with mom.  They don’t appear traumatized.  Yes, this is how the youngest child becomes spoiled…mama just can’t apply the same rules because she doesn’t have to…

When I told Gregor that I was sad, and that my whole identity was being ripped right out from underneath me, he said, “Tell you what, now you can refocus all your energy on loving me…”

Well then.

I know, I know, I need to embrace this upcoming stage in life.  I will find my spot just as she will find hers.  I’m going to sieze the day and enjoy every single second in the right here and now.  I’m going to listen to Dr. Seuss – Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

I’m really going to try not to stop mid-stride when I see you outside on the playground, pushing your little girl on the swings.  I’ll try not to break down when you reach down to zip a coat or put a mitten on your little boy’s hand (I know, for the thirtieth time in an hour).  I may not carpe diem you out loud, but you betcha, I’m thinking it.  And if it happens to slip out, try to understand.  It’s just because I wish I was you.

Yes, I need severance pay.  In the form of a blue-eyed four year old little girl.

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Grape Juice With My Buddy

I got an email the other day:  I have millions of grapes – please come take them!
So I did.

I can’t make jam – it never turns out.  But I’ve never made grape juice…  
Step 1:  Take all the grapes off the stems and give them a good wash.

Step 2:  Give them a good crushing.  Your 4 year old will like this part.

Mash ’em up good.

Hey Paige, do you know how they used to crush grapes?  They STEPPED on them!  Do they still do that?

Step 3:  Put on stove and heat on medium heat.

Make sure to give them a good sniff sniff…mmm…it will make your kitchen smell divine.

Heat to simmer.  About 10 minutes.

Step 4:  Use your strainer!  If you don’t have one there is some other method using cheese cloth?  I have no idea on that one…

Step 5:  Take a photo of your fresh grape juice.

But where does that juice look best?

Too much reflection, though I do like the outdoor background color.

Those reflecting lights are a bit annoying.  How about placement?

Oh well.  I’m not a food blogger, now am I?  
Step 6:  Drink up!  I served some up for Friday Night Lights and boy oh boy was it good.  Like SO good.  Like, is this what wine tastes like?  Good thing I don’t know or I might be in trouble!  
It’s best to drink the grape juice fresh; that’s when it tastes it’s beauty best.  And think of all those antioxidants ridding your body of those pesty disease-causing free radicals!  Uh-huh.

Step 7:  Ask the maid to kindly clean up after you.

Wait, the maid is off today?  She’s reading on the couch?  The little red hen would say, “More for me!”
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That Fresh Clean Scent

After doing a load of laundry at Cass and Eric’s this summer, Mr. G is obsessed with the smell of this detergent.
I have to admit, I find it rather lovely myself.  The clothes come out of the dryer smelling so…clean.  What is the smell of clean anyway?  No smell?  Whatever this detergent does, I like it.
I also have to admit, I’ve been super cheap in the past.  The super duper deluxe buckets that I can hardly carry for $20 have left orange streaks on clothes and a less-then-wonderful smell.  
I’ve been buying Arm and Hammer because it’s less expensive than other brands, boasts less dyes and chemicals, and the clothes smell and feel clean.
I prefer liquids because it doesn’t spill on the floor or washing machine, although I have read that powders are much more cost-effective.
I usually buy generic, but there are some name-brands my family insists on:  Skippy Peanut Butter, for one.  I’m also not allowed to buy 1-ply toilet paper.
My friend Meredith can’t buy anything other than Huggies or Tide Detergent.
I think I’ll stick with my Gain.  It is rather nice.
What don’t you want to live without?
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a day in the life

“What did you do today?” Brynne will often ask me, anxiously, after she gets off the school bus…An ordinary day…
Paige is learning her letters.  She likes to draw on the chalkboard.  But letters get old after awhile.  The best part is erasing with her hands.

Sometimes I try to fix things…like this topiary lamp.  This could very well be the last crafty thing I ever made.  It was for the girl’s room.  It is broken.  The shade sits wobbly atop the light bulb from constantly falling over due to a wobbly base I could never get quite right.  There is a burn spot on the inside that gives me nightmares of a fire.  I do not think it’s fixable.  It sits on top of the dryer as I go back and forth about what to do…It’s so hard to toss, but I fear this is what must be.

Brynne fakes illness so she can stay home with me.  Actually, she really was sick.  I took the kids to school and left her to sleep.  When I got back home I found a note on the stairs.  Lovely.

As the end of the school day approaches, piles of soccer gear starts piling up by the door.  I have many bags to remember.  Many smelly socks, shoes, and water bottles.

Other piles get piled as I continue to purge…yes, even the beloved books.  I tried using cash4books.net but the most they would pay was $1.49.  Donations here we come.

Sometimes I get a cleaning bug.  The ones in red are worth $1.  Think any of them have been done by any of the children?  September’s value is “Peaceability.”  I feel more peace with “clean.”

I’m trying to do a cleaning project every morning with Paige.  The pantry was one such  goal.

Paige loves to wash with water, soap, and a scrub brush.  We often do our chores in our pajamas and do not change until we absolutely have to.

We took everything out, washed and vacuumed the shelves, then lined them with contact paper.

Paige greatly enjoyed organizing the meds.  And she didn’t eat any of them.

Ah…so much better.

We like to take walks.  We went up the hill to see the water buffalo, the new puppy Reuben, and pick apples from the apple orchard.  I made an effort and changed out of my pajama pants.  Paige can get away with a bundle and  her rain boots.  Everything is more fun when you bring a little basket for treasures.  She is finally getting old enough to sometimes go without a stroller.  She will walk…but still asks to be carried.
Eventually we must get dressed.  At least three different outfits.  And pose for pictures for Mama.  Our first year growing sunflowers.  Fall has arrived in New England.  Colors will be begin popping soon.  When the sun shines, it is glorious.

Brynne likes to do dishes too so we saved some for her.  The three oldest have 2 dish nights a week.  “This is so fun!” Brynne often says with the water going full blast.  Cope and Nelson no longer say this…enjoy them while they’re young.
An ordinary day is sometimes the best kind.
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Ten Years

It wasn’t until I read Lindsey’s post that I realized that a decade had just gone by.  Amazing how life has changed in ten years.  I thought about significant events:

2 1/2 years of marriage turned into 13 1/2

Understood how you could love someone more than yourself

A new mother of one to a more “seasoned” mother of 4

Had four healthy pregnancies

No major illnesses

Understood why 12 teenage boys were good birth control

Apparently I’m a slow learner

Stayed up way too late every Saturday night waiting for the last kid to come in, praying there was no alcohol on his breathe or glazed pot eyes.

Potty-trained 4 children

Read a whole lot of parenting books

And People magazines

Only had 1 ER visit for a child and 1 for the husband

Traveled to Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Florida, Maine, Vermont, NYC, Rhode Island, Boston

Changed a million diapers

Nursed 4 babies

Gave away all the baby stuff.  And was sad.

Saw three children go to kindergarten and one to middle school

Had a child yell, “I hate you.”

Had children say, “I love you,” more.

Said good-bye to being a dorm parent for nine years!

Got a job teaching biology, then anatomy & physiology, then strength & conditioning

Many pig dissections 🙂

Just said good-bye to all those jobs but swore I’d be back

Bought our first home!

Learned how to garden, paint walls, fix a few things, install a tiled floor

Survived two flooded basements

Cried a lot

Laughed more

Had Nelson teach me how to play chess

Cope tried to teach me to knit

Brynne taught me how to like the spunkiest of children

Paige showed me why youngest children are spoiled

Learned that childhood won’t last and having a child sneak into my bed at night is the least of my worries.

Taught 3 children piano lessons

Learned how to cook, make bread

Learned how to grocery shop with four children in tow – happily 🙂

Began making chore charts

Phased out of newlywed to wife and mother for the long haul

Ran a lot of 5ks

Ran a marathon and a couple halfs

Saw my hair morph into many different styles

Tried many a hair gel 🙂

Frowned at many stubborn white hairs

Said good-bye to too many friends

Said hello to new ones

All of my siblings married.  And I’m the luckiest sister-in-law in the world.

All my brothers and Gregor’s brothers served missions

Became a mini-van mom.  Oh my gosh.

Went from a church branch to ward.  Served in many callings.

Filled 10 scrapbooks

Gregor’s family was sealed for time and all eternity

Got a fish, chickens, and a dog

Parents moved from childhood home

Got a cell phone, a personal computer, started a blog

Began to really write

Had many a confidence crises’

Became more confident

Was part of a real birth

Coached many athletes and conditioned many sports teams

Saw Gregor coach, teach, work in admissions, and now director of athletics

Discovered Forbidden Chocolate

Nurtured children and began to see what my most fulfilling job in this life will be

The next ten: 

Braces

Middle school

Dating.  Oh my gosh.

Boys.  Girls.

Out of control homework.

Drama

Musicals

More piano lessons and violin and soccer and karate and skiing and…

Independence

Separation (no!)

Another kindergarten

Twin boys.  that one’s for you G.

High school

College!

Money.  Hopefully earned.

A job outside of children.  What it will be I have no idea.  But I have a hope.

A finished basement

A Proctor sabbatical (better happen buster!)

Young Women

Young Men

Travel to foreign lands:  Spain, Venice, and Israel.  Maybe Iowa too.

In ten years I will be 45 (gasp!)  Gregor will be 47 (bigger gasp!)  Cope will be 21 (falling over now) Nelson will be 19 (mission?) Brynne will be 16 (dating!) and Paige will 13 (oh boy.)

It goes at warp speed when you look back, doesn’t it?

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you -John DePaola

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The Month of November

It’s the end of the month as I write this, sitting on a bedroom floor of my parent’s home for the last time.  I am the last one to leave today so I have a few minutes to write.  
It was a great month; full of wonderful times.
1.  Soccer of course.  Played with these stellar athletes and great friends.  We beat the Proctor girl’s varsity team and won bragging rights 🙂  Sorry Simone, it’s true!
A little after-soccer craziness.  Paige is doing this thing where she just plunges backwards and hopes for the best.
2.  Took Cope to see Carrie Underwood.  WOW.  What a voice!  Cope loved it too and I had to make a CD when I got home.  I didn’t know a lot of her songs before as I live in the world of musicals and kid CDs now.  Now I can say I’m a big fan.  When Carrie sang, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” and then went right into “How Great Thou Art,” she about brought the whole house down.  So good!  Late night.  So fun.
3.  Thanksgiving, of course.  I have so many pictures to post.  We had a blast, ate way too many cheeseballs and pieces of pie, played games (pounce!), and laughed over everything.  I’m so blessed to have such great family on both sides.
4.  Health.  No one is sick.  Everyone is feeling pretty good.  Health is such a blessing.  We can run!
  Five us woke up early to go run in the freezing cold 5k Turkey Trot.  It has grown to be the BIGGEST 5k in the state, boasting over 800 runners this year!  Another good time.
5.  Going home.  Allison, Andrea, and Eric were able to fly in for one last Thanksgiving in Omaha.
My parents are moving to Arizona after 33 years in Nebraska.  I have many pictures to upload.  I love being from corn country.  Their home has a for sale sign in front of it.  The house next door has a for sale sign too.  My neighbors, The Huqs, have already moved out and their home sits empty. 
6.  Newborns.  Love them.
7.  National Novel Writing Month!  It was fun.  It was work.  It was an overwhelming, unrealistic goal.  My wrist hurts.  I made myself do it.  And 50,000 words later I have a new story I’m excited about.  It was exactly when I needed.  I think “We Do Hard Things” is going to be a new motto in our home.
8.  Xanadu!  This CD was resurrected this month.  Fabulous!  Roller skates, Olivia Newton John, feathered hair – oh yea!
9.  Coming Home.  
I am back and everyone was happy to see me…so nice!  I missed my little buddies and they have not stopped hugging me and giving me kisses.
The house is clean, Gregor didn’t go insane trying to balance kids, work, and all the activities.  He does say his office is turned upside down, but I am grateful he was supportive.
After a flight cancellation, I made it, a day late, but I’m back.  5 days away!  It felt like a long time and I am not very good at flying. Thankfully I did not have to use that little baggie in front of me…Thank you Dramamine.
Good-bye November, Hello December…wow!
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