Monday, April 7, 2014

Uh oh...THAT day has arrived!

The day has arrived. Two years in the making. The moment when my husband and I looked at each other and said, "Oh S%#*!! This is real now!".  Our house in pending---almost two years to the day that we originally put it on the market.  When you sit around for two years waiting for a sale you get complacent. You start to think it will never happen.  Then the offer comes in and your head starts going in a million different directions. Just on the surface: How in the hell are we going to move all this stuff? Who can help us? Can we take the dogs with us to our temporary housing?  Will our daughter adjust to a new school? What will it be like to make new friends again? Will we even find temporary housing? Will the closing go through? UGH! So much to think about but yet we are doing what is best for our family.

Word of advice: Don't move unless absolutely necessary.  It sucks. The little details are the most stressing of all.  Switching banks, finding new doctors, getting our daughter into new activities, joining a new church. Enough to throw anyone into a panic attack.  I have been through this many, many times before with our many moves but it never gets easier.

You would think we would be used to this by now.  This will be our fifth home in our 12 year marriage. We have never been in one home longer than 4 years.  Let's just say we never feel settled. We have made a promise that our next home (after temporary housing) will be our last. I don't think anyone can ever get used to moving.

This life transition is bittersweet.  We have met some very incredible people in our little town. Over the years this small town has felt too small at times.  Everyone knowing everyone else's business. Obvious cliques exist like high school days.  Above all that, however, is a safe, small town full of pride.  I can go for a walk anywhere in this town and tell you who lives in what house. That comfortable, safe feeling is what I will miss most of all.

I know the best part is yet to come though. My husband will go from a 1 hour 20 minute commute one way to 15 minutes one way. We will also shave off over an hour drive to get to my parents.

The next couple of months will be crazy but well worth it in the end.  Life has been quite an adventure since my husband and I got married and the loops and turns keep coming.  Who wants a boring, straight-laced life anyway?!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

9 Things I Learned From A Facebook Hiatus

I have had my issues with Facebook for a long time. I was reluctant to join in the first place nearly three years ago. I caved.  I do not live near my family and thought it was a great way to keep in touch. I also have this passion for genealogy so I knew I could use it to get information and connect with distant relatives.

However, I have seen this change in Facebook that has rubbed me the wrong way- being fake and posting crap.  I understand now why they say teenagers are fleeing Facebook and not using it nearly as much as they did a couple of years ago.

After Christmas, upon hearing of yet another pregnancy within my circle of family/friends that should never have happened, I decided I desperately needed a break from social media.  Struggling with infertility also makes me flee from anything pregnancy related. Go ahead, call me selfish but unless you have been in my shoes- do not judge. I decided to quit Facebook (at least temporarily).  Here is what I discovered in my time just before quitting and during my hiatus:

1.  I do not care where you are at every minute of the day.  Seriously, do we all need to know that you are going the grocery store. You got back and are now cooking dinner. That evening you are watching television.  You went the bathroom and are now going to bed.  Do we all need to know these details? Maybe you should just have 24/7 podcast.  I think you want someone to stalk you. Oh, and if your house gets robbed I will know exactly why.

2. You are fake and/or are making us believe you have a perfect life. Ok, some of you are not doing this on purpose. However, I take issue with you when you make people assume things on Facebook that are not the whole truth.  Example, you show off pictures of your new car and talk it up. Only problem is the people close to you know it is not really all your car or someone else bought it for you. When you only show the great and never the bad, people have a hard time relating to you.

3. The only time you post anything is when you are either traveling or have just bought something. Be humble. Do not make your ONLY posts be when you are vacation or bought something. There is more to your life, show it or stay off of social media.

4. You are only on Facebook to play games. There are too many 'friends' I have on Facebook that I want to delete because I do not connect with them anyway. They are only on there to play games and that is all that shows up in my news feed. I then block you from showing up in my news feed and that kind of defeats the purpose of Facebook, right?

5. I do not need your political agenda shoved down my throat. (sigh), then there are those that use Facebook to be on their soapbox 24/7.  Free speech...hey, I get that. Go ahead. As for me? Delete, delete, delete.

6. I did not miss a damn thing.  I did log back on this week.  Know what I discovered? Not one damn interesting thing. What did I miss? Nothing.  I read this, "blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda." The world went around and around without Facebook in my life and I still didn't miss a beat.

7. My family talked to me more. Yes, seriously. I kid you not. I talked more with my mom on the phone because I wasn't on Facebook and didn't already know what was going on with family. More family members or friends would email or call and say, "oh, since you are not on Facebook I should tell you...." Still, none of it was earth shattering, but real conversation took place!

8. In my mind it is not fair if I share and you don't. If I am an active participant on Facebook, but 60% of my 'friends' never participate on Facebook and only have a profile and just look occasionally,

then what is the point of keeping my account? If I joined Facebook to keep up with family or connect with distant relatives but they NEVER post anything than what is the point of me using Facebook either? Just to be able to message them? I can use email, write a letter, or use the phone.

9. I realized I am a happier person WITHOUT Facebook. Once off Facebook, I do not care so much about what other people are doing. I focus on myself. We went to visit my parents and for most of the visit my phone sat untouched and at least 20 feet away from me.  In the evenings my phone sits in the kitchen while we are in the living enjoying family time.  I do not get down in the dumps because someone is on vacation and plastering it all over Facebook while I wallow that I desperately need one. I don't question others decisions and ideas anymore. I only question my own.

After a week or so of no Facebook I noticed that I did not miss it. If I go back it will be on my terms and changes will be made. Live your life, not someone else's.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"These little earthquakes"....

"ooh, these little earthquakes. Here we go again. Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces." - Tori Amos

The first 12 days of 2014 better not be an indication of how the rest of the year will be.  The outcomes are good, but having anxiety so early in the year is enough to want me to have 2013 back if only for a moment. A call to return after a mammogram is enough to break even the strongest of souls.  Yes, I am young. 34. Most women don't worry about mammograms so young.  I have no choice but to worry.  My grandmother passed away from breast cancer and my mother is in remission.  I have had my fair share of health issues and have been poked and prodded enough to last a lifetime, but 'spots' on a mammogram can bring you to your knees.  This was my first mammogram and no one bothered to tell me that about 50% of women get called back for a follow up.  That doesn't change the fear.  In the end- all is good. Whew. Walking on air is the only way to describe the way I walked out of that hospital last week.

My dad has already been in and out of the hospital this year. We had crazy weather that resulted in my husband and daughter being home from work/school for three days. Welcome cabin fever! Our neighbors have sold their house which has been on the market just as long as us. Gives us hope, but at the same time so disappointed it wasn't us with the 'pending' on our sign.

It is only January 12th. Strap in. Those little earthquakes are waiting.

I am also experimenting with something that I truly believe is changing my life, my outlook, my attitude, and my priorities.  I am giving it a bit more time before I discuss.  Soon.....

                                                   Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

7...No. Can't be possible.

Words are not falling off my tongue today. Or really, words are not pulsating through my fingers onto my keyboard. Pictures will have to do.

Birthday party #1!

Birthday morning!

"I wish everyday was my birthday!"

7!?!? What!?!

Birthday party #2! 

Birthday fun!

Leaf fun---from the one tree we have in the backyard. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Despite teenagers trying to kill is good

No, this is not the road in question.
My daughter should ride the bus.  I figured one of the great things about being a stay at home mom would be to drive my daughter to and from school. It is not all its cracked up to be.  I fear for my life every day...mainly in the mornings.  With the high school next to my daughter's elementary school, I pass a lot of teenagers on the back roads. There have been numerous close calls and days when I have gone off in the grass slightly.  This morning was a year and half in the making. 

This particular back road (which leads into the back of our subdivision) is narrow in parts.  I saw the big pick up truck coming toward me. "He will get over on his side before he passes me"...this is what I told myself. I slowed down a lot and got over as far as I could. He got closer and I could tell it was a teenager. And.....nope! He didn't get over. To avoid hitting him head on I veered off the road, missed hitting a tree by a foot or less, dodged a mailbox and garbage cans, went down in a ditch and back up, over a driveway and finally (after finding my footing and putting on the brakes) I stopped in someone's front yard. A lady behind me stopped to be sure I was ok. Physically? Yes.  My Jeep? It is fine.  The homeowner's mailbox and garbage cans? Intact.  Whew! My first instinct was to head back to the high school and search the parking lot for the punk.  Instead, I came home and spent the morning in a daze.  Not really for what had just happened, but rather for the fact that this just about happens to me every morning.  My anger for teenage drivers grows on a daily basis. 

After being thankful for missing the tree and being alive, I got on with my day. I started thinking about all the things I am thankful for (other than missing that monster tree).
- I am thankful for my family- especially for my wonderful husband who works hard and is also a great dad and wonderful engineer and for my beautiful daughter that we didn't think was possible.
- I am thankful for Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer for my coffee which makes these cold mornings bearable.
- I am thankful to be able to watch deer wonder around in our backyard (even though we live in a subdivision which is why I love this house and will be a little sad when we move).
- I am thankful for weekday lunches with friends.
- I am thankful for my favorite authors who give me reasons to curl up on the couch with my favorite blanket.
 I could go on and on.  What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Yes, it is Thanksgiving season...not Christmas.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Working on my domestic skills

I am not a good cook. I'll be the first to admit it.  However, I can bake. Yes, cooking and baking are two completely different things. At least in my mind.  I can whip up my awesome chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, cheesecake or bread.  But can I cook a three course meal? No. At least not that well. When I do attempt bigger meals I am always bound to destroy a pan and set off the smoke alarm.  Baking has always come easy to me. 

Knowing I was going to be laid up for about a week after gallbladder surgery, I decided to bake something I have never done before. An apple pie.  Mmmm. If I may brag a tasted awesome!  I can't wait to make another one but this week is all about healing and making a birthday cake for my husband.

I couldn't help but share this recipe.  I swiped it from an ancient issue of Country Living magazine (May 2006).  Pardon my pictures. My camera is not liking me lately. Not to mention, when I am in a baking zone I do not like to stop and snap cutesy pictures. 

Grandma's Pie Dough (makes 4 crusts)
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. sugar
1 3/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbl. white vinegar
1 egg (extra large)

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Whisk  the vinegar, egg and 1/2 cup of ice water together and mix into the flour mixture with your hands until just combined.  Transfer to a clean work surface, and gently press to form a dough.  Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Shape each into a ball, flatten slightly to form a disk, and wrap in plastic.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  If only using some of the crusts, put the others in freezer bags and freeze until needed.  However, allow 2 days to thaw before using.

I used a pastry tool to mix in the butter

This is the dough before I took it out and formed it into a ball to divide into four pieces

This is the dough I didn't need at the time and now have stored in my freezer

Farmhouse Apple Pie (about 8 servings)
2 disks of Grandma's Pie Dough
2 1/2 pounds of mixed apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
2 Tbl. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbl.
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. lemon juice  (although I had no lemon juice so I used vinegar instead)
(I also added a dash of Apple Pie Spice- found in the spice aisle at the grocery store)

Heat oven to 375* F.  Roll out one of the disks of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness; transfer to a 9-inch pie pan.  Set aside and keep chilled.  Roll the remaining dough to 1/8/ inch thickness.  Set aside on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (or just flour the sheet) and keep chilled. Toss the chopped apples, flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice (or vinegar) together and mix until combined. Pour apple mixture into the prepared pie pan and top with the remaining dough.  Trim, leaving 1/2 inch overhang, fold under, and crimp edges. Sprinkle top with remaining sugar. I forgot to rip out the last page of the recipe so the rest is completely my own--- Cut four little slits in the top crust toward the center. Place pie pan on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until dough in the center is slightly brown.  Halfway through I covered up the pie with tin foil to prevent the edges from browning too much or burning. Allow to cool. Enjoy!

Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Trial error procedure to be sure it fits in the pie pan.

After all the ingredients are mixed together and ready to be put into the pie pan.

Bottom crust in a 9 inch pie pan

Sugar is sprinkled on top and slits to allow venting.

Voila! And might I say, "Yummy"! Later I heat up the pieces so that I have warm pie.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Feels like fall favorite time of the year.  The smell of burning leaves and fire pits.  The sound of crunching leaves under my shoes.  Surrounded by falling leaves as I walk through the woods. The season when my camera is my best friend.  Love it!

I don't have a whole lot of decorations for autumn.  This year I wanted to spruce up our front porch. Thanks to our local nursery, I was able to one stop shop and get everything I needed...and really, only for about $35. Not only does it get me in a festive mood, but it also keeps the curb appeal up since our house is like the last kid picked on the playground as far as the housing market goes. Only wish I had an autumn themed welcome mat.
Now, if I could only keep the neighborhood kids from playing with the little pumpkins and gourds....grrr.