Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hopeful Gardening

This weekend we took a leap of faith and decided to try to grow some garden plants from seeds. I wanted the kids to see first hand how plants are grown and what it takes to produce vegetables. I have to admit that instead of a green thumb, mine is mostly brown. But I have the heart of a gardener, just not the skill set yet. I am going to keep trying until I get it right. I grew up helping my dad plant and care for a garden. Many a summer mornings were spent picking beans and tomatoes. I am determined to expose Maddison and Mason to that same experience. So far, they love it. We had some small success last year with vegetable boxes and blueberry bushes. I will try to post more pictures when the seeds start sprouting. . . which I hope is soon!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Tea Party That Wasn't

All dressed up and nowhere to go! On Saturday, Maddison and I thought that we were registered for a Grandmother/Mother and Daughter tea party. When we got there, we found out that there had been a mix up and we weren't registered. What could have been a sad day turned into a happy event. We ended up visiting a new bakery in our town and bought treats for some of our favorite people. Then we visited her mom's school (and delivered a yummy looking brownie bite) and Maddie got her nails polished with sparkles. Later we delivered more of our goodies and enjoyed the company of family. All in all, it turned out to be a very enjoyable afternoon. I guess you could say that we make lemonade out of lemons.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


What a weekend this has been. Snow, wind, rain and cold weather. The weekend was unusually full for me. I rarely have any plans, but I fit quite a bit into this one. On Sunday I had lunch with some cousins. It was so nice to catch up with them and spend some quality time just talking. Most of the time when I see extended family it is at large gatherings and it is hard to talk with so much going on. The weekend ended with our son-in-law in the hospital for tests. He checked out fine, so all is well that ends well.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Boy and His Tractor!

Mason is a John Deere man. A cousin brought his big John Deere over last weekend to blade our driveway after the winter's damage. Mason wanted to "pose" by the tractor. As soon as the tractor came down the drive, Mason went into the garage and got his John Deere front end loader and parked it close by. A man and his toys. . . .

Say It Ain't So!

Yes, it is true. There is snow covering the ground at our house this morning. And there is more in the forecast (up to 2 inches) tomorrow. I certainly hope that this is winter's last hurrah! Yesterday was mostly nice, but much colder than what we have been having. And this wonderful weather is just in time for the weekend. Sigh! It should be a great weekend, though. On Saturday I am going to a Parks and Rec sponsored "Tea Party" with Maddison. I am supposed to dress "festive". I am not sure yet how I will pull that off! On Sunday some of my cousins are getting together for lunch and laughs. This is a great group of women. I will probably be the oldest one there, but they won't make me feel that old. It is so nice to surround yourself with family and friends. The girls don't get together often enough, so I am really looking forward to this. Weekend here we come. . . snow or not!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


My goodness people. It has been one hit after the other lately with the checkbook. First our homeowners insurance was due. I wrote out one big check (double what it was 15 years ago when we moved here). Then there was the check for our automobile deductible (Randy hit 2 deer with his truck). And today, over lunch, I picked up our taxes from the tax lady. Yikes! Lets just say we have underpaid Uncle Sam all year. And now he wants his due. My financial goals have taken a hit with all of these huge expenses. It is so incredibly hard to get ahead and we have no children at home, we both work full time and have good benefits. I cannot imagine how young families and people starting out do it. The only consolation I got today was after I picked up the taxes, I went to Subway for lunch (who could afford more?) I was sharing our tax news with a friend who works there, and she told me that a few years ago her husband ran his own business. She wasn't working at all. When they had their taxes done, they owed $10,000 to the IRS. Well, my check might be large, but it is not that big. I guess it could always be worse.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sunday we visited Hannibal and took a walking tour. Maddison "painted" Tom Sawyer's fence. Amanda took a picture of the kids behind Mark Twain's boyhood home. It was a fun day with beautiful weather. My favorite part was walking by the Mississippi and watching the fishing boats.

Cage of Stars

I finished Cage of Stars last night. I liked the book, but found it a little unrealistic. It gives you a glimpse into the life of a Mormon family and explains a little about their beliefs. It deals with the aftermath of a very tragic event and its affects on one family. Worth reading.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It was just warm enough and dry enough to take the horse for a ride yesterday. The kids love this horse swing so much! Thanks Aunt Debbie and Uncle Mike for bringing joy to their lives!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mr. Stinky Feet

We went to a concert last night staring "Mr. Stinky Feet" and his band. As part of the program, some children are picked from the audience to go on stage and play an instrument and dance. To get picked, the child had to be sitting and have their hand raised. Maddison got picked, but Mason didn't. He was sad, but kept trying all night to be picked. Maddison got picked last year to be on stage too. She is an old pro now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts on a Thursday:
How can we help the people of Japan? Somehow prayers and donations don't seem like enough. It is difficult to watch the news and see the scope of suffering in that country.
I have been following the news closely this past week. I need to know what is going on in the world around me, but I am so much happier when I bury my head in the sand and stay away from the news.
An old high school friend died this week. He was such a kind soul to me when I was just a very shy and awkward student. He used to drive my sister and me to school and always had a kind word to say when I saw him. He fulfilled his lifelong dream of working in law enforcement and also raised two fine boys. My heart goes out to his wife and family. I will always wonder if he knew how much his kindness during a difficult time in my life meant to me. How I wish I had made it a point to tell him. I am planning on going to the funeral tomorrow. It will be hard to watch his family grieve.
I was inspired today by a story in the local paper about a teacher who has lost 160 # in the last 2 years. No surgery, no diet pills, just hard work and dedication. I wonder what it is going to take to motivate me to lose my extra pounds? Her story is going to be featured on the Today show on March 28th.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Little Bee

I finished Little Bee over the weekend. It certainly makes you think about the way the world works and the trials that some people have to endure. Even though the subject matter was difficult at times, the book is a tribute to the resiliance of humans. I recommend it as a good, memorable read.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Girls Have It!

I just got back from my second, "annual" girls weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks. There were 8 of us, all related, who gathered at a condo to laugh, shop, eat and talk, talk, talk. It was a great time. On Saturday we visited the Spa at Tan-Tar-A, ate lunch, and then went shopping at the outlet mall. After a brief rest and hair tinsel session, we went out to eat. We hoped to go to a piano bar, but when we got there, we found out that the piano bar had been sold and was reopened as a restaurant. After supper, we went back to the condo, talked and ate some more. On Sunday, we got up early, packed up and went out for brunch. It was sad saying good bye, but we all had families to get home to.
Our group consisted of: Martha. Martha is my step-mom, role model and friend. She is 70 something, but could pass for 50. She is spry, sweet and doesn't have a mean bone in her body. She is my role model because I try, try, try to be as non-judgemental and kind as she is. Maybe someday I will make it. She is also a lot of fun!
Debbie. If you have read my blog before, you know that Debbie is my sister. She is also a lot of fun to be around. She is generous, modern and puts forth so much effort to keep our family together. I think that Debbie is the glue that binds our family. We sort of picked on her this weekend. . . and for that I am sorry (but it was just a tad bit fun!)
Kathy. Kathy is my brother's wife. She loves to laugh, enjoy some good wine and share a story or two. She came loaded down with snacks, drinks, magazines and books to share. This was her first trip to the lake with us, and I hope she enjoyed herself enough to come back next year. We really enjoyed having her.
Mindy. Mindy is the reason we started this girls weekend. She celebrates her birthday in March, and this is what she requested as a celebration. Mindy is my oldest niece. She has a loving heart and a tendency to keep any situation real. She loves to laugh and have a good time. She has a great personality and a wonderful sense of family.
Jessica. What can I say about my first born? She is smart, funny and loves to bring the party. She navigated the driving and brought the chocolate! She was fighting a sinus infection, and was worried about her husband who was at home with the stomach flu. In spite of that, she hung in with the rest of us and kept the weekend fun.
Amanda. Amanda is my daughter in law and definitely the family stylist. She loves to have a good time, and always has something nice to say about everyone. She brought the glamour to the weekend and made us all step up our game. Her energy is amazing!
Meghan. Meghan is also my niece. She is probably the relative in the family most like me. The weekend and the family trips would not happen if it wasn't for her efforts to find nice, inexpensive places to stay. She is quiet, thoughtful and sweet (okay, maybe not exactly like me). Meghan is a planner and a doer. She doesn't talk a lot about what needs to be done, she just does it.
As you can see, we have a great bunch of women to spend some time with. As much as I love the men in my life, it is just sometimes good to be with the girls. . .

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just Mason and Me

I had the rare opportunity to spend the day with Mason. His childcare center was closed for training, so I took the day off and hung out with my favorite 3 year old. He is such a sweet little guy. I picked him up on the way home from the grocery store, and he helped me unload the groceries. He was anxious to ride his battery powered truck, since it has been idle most of the winter. After a short ride, he came in to play. He asked to play a game on our new Kinect, so we figured out how to work the silly thing. Soon it was time for lunch (PBJ and an apple, his choice) and after a "Go Diego" cartoon, we laid down together to nap. He has been fighting a cold, so he was more than ready to sleep. He loves to have his back "tickled" when he rests. As I lay beside him "tickling" his back, I paused to think how lucky I am to have two blessed grandchildren in my life. So many families now are separated by the miles, that this would be impossible for them. In a few hours we have to go pick up his sister from school. The whole dynamic will change when we include her. But for now, it is just the little guy and me. And by the way, Mason, "I love you mostest, and I said it first"!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mimi Lost Her Kite!

This could be one of the saddest little pictures I have ever seen! Maddison delivered this to me this morning, all folded up in an envelope with my name written on the front. After she had left for school I opened it and almost cried! Tonight, I talked to her and asked her what was going on in the picture she gave me. She told me that the person in the picture was me, and that I was crying because I had let go of my kite and lost it. I am pretty sure this drawing is going to go into the "keep" box!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rise and Shine

I just finished "Rise and Shine" this morning before work. It was the third book by Anna Quindlen that I have read. The story was about two sisters, one a famous morning news anchor, and one a social worker. They live in New York and definitely see two sides of the city. I would recommend this book to most anyone who likes to read, especially about women's issues. It was the kind of book that I hate to see end. I started a new book tonight, by an author I have never read before. I will report on it soon! Happy reading.
Maddison wearing her best "country girl" look before her kindergarten program. The program featured lots of standard "country songs", and several speaking parts. Maddison remembered all of her lines!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Home Safe

Home Safe is by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Berg. I haven't read a book of hers yet that I didn't enjoy. In this book, she features a woman who has recently lost her husband. The woman is a writer by trade, and has been unable to write since the death of her husband. The book is about love and loss, strength and weakness, and finding ones own way. One of my favorite parts of the book was the writing assignments that the character gives her students to encourage their creative stories. I am contemplating using some of her ideas to expand my writing. One week she has her students write about a room that had meaning for them, another week they were to write about a risk they took. I tend to get bogged down in the day to day stuff of life and fail to stretch my imagination and writing skills. Stay tuned, I may have to get creative in the coming weeks!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Picture With No Snow!

This picture was taken last summer. I wanted to post a picture that made me think of warmer weather. Snow is in the forecast again for tomorrow, but I will only look forward to nicer weather!


I just finished "Bloodroot" by Amy Green. The story centers around 4 generations of an Appalachian family, living on a mountain. If you like stories about this part of the country (which I obviously do), and you enjoy reading text written in a regional dialect, then you will most likely appreciate this book. The style is narrative and the sections are quite long. Bloodroot contained a lot of folklore, superstitions, wives tales and "homegrown" remedies. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has interests in any of the above mentioned areas!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham

I had the honor this morning of eating breakfast at Maddison's school. They were celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday by serving green eggs and ham. With the exception of the food, it was a wonderful event, complete with the Cat in the Hat (aka Mr. Roth the principal!). I can't help but feel that I need to literally soak up every minute I can with Maddison and Mason before they get to the time when being with Mimi and Papa is not the highlight of their week. Maddison and I had such a great time this morning. On the way to school, we laughed as we tried to think of funny looking foods that we have eaten. And then we tried to think of other kinds of food that would be fun to eat green (ice cream, mashed potatoes). We got to the school a few minutes early and had to wait for them to open the doors. It was chilly and Maddie leaned into me and I wrapped my arms around her. Even after other kids came to the door, she let me keep hugging her. On the way to the cafeteria, we held hands as she pointed out various school landmarks (the art room, the office). How long until she won't want to hold my hand or let me hug her in public? I dread that day! Maddie and Mason still run and jump into our arms when they come to visit. I don't want them to ever lose that enthusiasm to see us. In reality, I know that it is coming. It will be a sad day indeed when their friends take priority over us, and they shy away from those public displays of affection. But today, walking down the school hall, holding hands with the sweetest little red head I know, I made sure to keep a mental note of how wonderful the feeling was. It will be stored in my memory bank for the day when she walks a step or two ahead or behind me, embarrassed to be seen with an adult. May that memory bank hold strong for times when I need to go to a "happy place"!