Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Snow, books, Christmas preparations

With Christmas preparations, wedding planning and some big changes at work, life has been busier than usual.  Not that I'm complaining, because it's all good stuff and I love this time of year.


Yesterday evening, we got a few inches of snow, and it's still coming down.  My book club met for our annual Christmas dinner and book exchange.  Our table at the restaurant was right next to the fireplace -- a 'real' wood fire, no less -- and we could see the snow falling outside.  It was such a festive evening! One of my favorite things about the holidays, is gathering with these ladies.  One of the members of our group has a talent for gift wrapping that just puts us all in awe and hoping to be the recipient of her package each year.  This was my lucky year!

The package: (see the Santa and reindeer at the top?)


The book (which I hadn't heard of, but it sounds like a wonderfully fun read).


I have just a few things left to shop for, but most of the presents are wrapped.  It helps me to stay organized and remember what I have, since I start my shopping fairly early.  We sent Luke and Miranda's presents home with them when they were here at Thanksgiving, but I'm making up a Christmas box to mail them, just for fun.  I can't think about not having them here for Christmas this year, however, they'll be here for the wedding two weeks afterwards, so that softens the blow a bit.

I've been slow at decorating this year, and keeping it to a minimum.  I seem to do less each year and am satisfied with less.  That feels like progress to me:)

Stay warm everyone,

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On my mind


Last night was one of those nights where I fell into bed, so exhausted, but then lay awake for an hour making lists in my head.  I finally resorted to taking my phone -- which was on my nightstand, and I've been really good about not leaving it there at night -- and sending myself emails to get the items out of my head.  Which, I know is not a good idea, because 'they' say that using screens at bedtime is what keeps you awake.

I imagine gremlins reaching out from my phone and grabbing my brain whispering, "Stay Awake!"

So, this morning, I went down my list of emails and made a paper list, and now I'm feeling a bit more organized.

We are slowly easing into Christmas, while also continuing with wedding plans.  I have to say, the wedding stress has been minimal and well distributed among all parties involved.  My duties are few, the biggest job being riding herd on the two grooms (since I'm the mom who is closer in proximity) to make sure they keep at their list of things to do.  Because, what's a wedding without cake and a few flowers and something to eat?  Joe and Sam are both in the midst of finals and writing papers and finishing up labs, besides moving last weekend, so their lists look a lot scarier than mine.

So, back to Christmas.  I'm feeling pretty mellow about getting decorations up -- we hung outside lights last weekend and only have to replace one burned out string -- and am taking it all a little at a time.

While cleaning on Monday, I put away Thanksgiving and decorated the hutch for Christmas.  Here are the unedited photos.  I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this hutch:)





I'm off to work on my list, which includes writing out birthday cards for December birthdays -- we have a slew of family birthdays next month, taking a print to Michael's for framing, and going to work.

Happy Wednesday to all,


Friday, November 25, 2016

Hutch Makeover

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was working on a makeover for a piece of furniture.  I thought I would share some pictures of the finished product.

One of the first pieces of furniture that Dan and I bought when we were married, was this dining room hutch.  It was a splurge, but we came into a little money, and I've never regretted it.  I've always loved this piece, but have always had this niggling little thought that it would be so pretty painted.  Over the years, I've imagined painting it white or barn red, or painting part of it and leaving the rest natural.

I finally decided to just jump in and "do something --even if it's wrong," (as my father-in-law used to say.)


I started by taking it all apart and setting up shop on the back porch.  It involved a lot of sanding.  And a coat of primer.  And a couple of coats of paint.


Here's the finished product.  (Ignore the cord peeking out the side:/)  I love not having the doors on.  It is in a more central location now, so I can dress it up for different seasons and holidays.






I'm happy with the way it turned out and it feels good to have finished a project that has been on my list for such a long time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been AWOL for a week since Luke and Miranda were in town.  We had such a great visit with them!  One day, we went to the zoo -- it was the day our temperatures hit a record high of 80 degrees. And then the next day we got four inches of snow;)  It happens in these parts.

It was such a magical day.  There were very few people there, and while it was a warm day, there was a soft breeze blowing leaves all about.  We took our time, rode the carousel and the train, and had lunch.


I didn't take a lot of pictures, but crammed in as much grandma time as I could.  We celebrated an early Thanksgiving on Sunday, because Luke had to leave the next morning.  Miranda and the kids are staying with her grandma for a few more days.

It has been nice having this lull between our Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas rush.  I always wish that Thanksgiving could linger a bit, and this year I got my wish.

And I got my wish, with time spent with four of my favorite people!


   

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cousins

Luke and Miranda are in town with the kids for a week!  Our little house is bursting at the seams in the evenings with a 2-year-old, 18-month old, 10-month-old and 8-month-old, and we are having a ball!  

Brooklynn and Siefer in coordinating jammies after a bath.


I need to get a picture of the two boy cousins together, but in the meantime, look at how much Sawyer has grown!  (Miranda took this picture and it is my favorite of all time.)


Not to be left out, Bentley has become a little bear cub. He's so roly poly and holding him is just delicious.



In grandbaby heaven,

Friday, November 11, 2016

Grateful for Friday's Fave Five


In light of the events of the past few days -- meaning of course the election on Tuesday that left so  many of us reeling in disbelief -- I am delighted to join in with the Friday Fave Five crowd and look for the blessings in my week.  Because, as bad as life gets sometimes, there's always something good that pokes it's head up and winks at me.

1.  Today is Veteran's Day, and I'm grateful for a day that remembers all of the men and women who have served in the armed forces to give us the freedoms that we have today.  This includes my dad, my grandpa, my uncles, my brother, and my nephew.  Thank you to all!

2.  Here it is the middle of November and I'm wearing a t-shirt and capris and looking out the window at a rosebush in full bloom.  This morning, I started a project, re-doing a piece of furniture, on the back porch.  It is so warm and sunny and beautiful outside.

3.  In an effort to prepare for the holiday season (and I do need a reminder that it is fast arriving, despite Spring-like weather) I've found a new favorite at St*rbucks.  Peppermint White Mocha.  OMG, it's to die for.  It's not a special or anything, just something I decided to try and it's become my fave.

4.  I had an unexpected free day on Monday that I wrote about here.  Yay for 'free' days!

5.  Laughter.  Dan and I record our favorite shows and watch them when we have time.  Last night, we watched the latest episodes of Modern Family and The Big Bang.  A nice reprieve from all the seriousness of the week.

How was your week?


 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The gift of a day


Yesterday, I found myself with an unexpected free day. I usually have my two grandbabies on Mondays, but my son-in-law texted early in the morning to say that he had been called into work early and had to take the kids to their regular sitter.

Wow! The gift of a day. I had a few chores to do, but what a treat to be able to do them at my own pace and to be deliberate in my actions.  To feel unrushed as I folded laundry and later worked at my desk.   I took a break to call Pamela and have a chat and a cup of coffee.

We celebrated my aunt's birthday yesterday evening, and even though the meal was a simple crockpot recipe, I decided to set the table with my great-grandmother's china that I had moved from boxes into the china cabinet for occasions such as this.  Later, I listened to my dad and aunt as they remembered eating from those same dishes as children. And I still had the pleasure of seeing my grandbabies when they came for cake and ice cream that evening.

Yesterday, I was reminded how I lose myself when I live in a rush.  It's so easy for me to take on too much, hurrying from one place to another, either physically or in my mind.  It's so easy to gain momentum, set my course and keep going with the next goal in mind.  I miss the details, the beauty in the ordinary things in life.

I guess there are times that that can't be avoided, but for the most part I can make better choices. It usually means removing the clutter from my mind and my surroundings.  It means being deliberate about my choices and my actions, whether it's setting a table or putting ingredients into a crockpot.  It means staying home when I'm tempted to use a free day to go out to the store and buy things that I'm sure I need, but will just add to the clutter.

My son-in-law apologized when he texted, saying, "I hope this doesn't mess up your plans for the day."  Oh, no! You gave me a gift, Marcus.