We went for an afternoon visit today to see Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie. I was thankful I wasn’t driving – I don’t do well in these conditions! It snowed all the way to their place and it was so pretty. I just love the snow! Here’s the highway leading to Rubio, the little tiny almost non-existent town they live just outside of.
And I love gravel roads covered in snow (although this isn’t a whole lot of snow). That bend in the road – it takes you to one of the prettiest places in Iowa! I shared pictures of Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie’s place last summer and it’s just as pretty in the winter. The only difference is it was so cold out and I didn’t wear my boots so I only took a few pictures from the truck as we were moving so I didn’t get the best pictures.
Off to the right, a few of Uncle Jerry’s horses with their backs to the wind. Uncle Jerry has always had horses and at one time he raised mules. On past these horses there were goats and llamas. I didn’t get any pictures – next time maybe. Uncle Jerry said he had just bought some new goats yesterday and they were due to give birth at any time. If it had been a warmer day and I had been dressed more appropriately I would have gone out with him to check on the mamas. Baby goats – how sweet. When I was growing up we would have been getting ready for lambing season. I loved the baby lambs!
And to the left I the old farmhouse and barn. Up the road and around the bend and you’re there. The house on the left and the most beautiful view to the right. A big old farmhouse and room to roam. Lots of memories here and they’re all good. My older kids always enjoyed visiting and now Drew does too. It’s almost like time slows down when I’m visiting Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie.
I’m going to try this again. I’m not sure why I stopped posting. It just happened. I stopped posting and I stopped reading all of my favorite blogs. I just stopped. I’ve been slowly following my favorite blogs again and I’m going to try this again. So here goes!
The last couple of months of 2017 were very eventful. Our beautiful baby granddaughter whose due date was December 6th was born November 10th – on my mom’s birthday! Her mama’s health was not going well due to preeclampsia and the doctor decided to bring baby Bayah Lynn into the world early. Thankfully after a two week stay in the hospital Bayah and mommy came home and are healthy and doing great. Bayah weighed 4 lbs. 3 oz. when she was born and she’s now over 6 lbs. She’s the prettiest little thing and is just perfect. And big brother Braxton is so in love with his baby sister. We are truly blessed. Braxton celebrated his 4th birthday at the hospital in the waiting room and he thought that was so much fun. He said it was the best birthday ever! Just goes to show kids don’t need big parties. He was just happy to have all his family, a cake and presents to open!
Then December came along. We lost my father-in-law the week before Christmas. He was 93 and doing great and then he came down with pneumonia and before we knew it he was gone. It happened so quickly and yet most of December was spent with my husband making the three hour drive to his hometown not knowing if his dad was going to make it or not. He would drive nights and spend nights there and drive back and forth. It was so hard to lose Albert but everyone was thankful he didn’t suffer and he was ready.
And then the flu hit. Poor Drew got sick at Grandpa’s visitation. Thankfully my dad and mom were there and were able to take Drew home with them. He missed Grandpa’s funeral but he just couldn’t have been there. Then I got sick, and Joe got sick, and Eric got sick, and Aaron got. Braxton was sick and Jeremy too. We postponed Christmas from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve Day. Then my dad and mom got sick. Mom ended up sick on New Year’s Eve Day and couldn’t celebrate with us but thankfully we had FaceTime and she was able to still be part of the fun.
Then the following week my sister got sick, her daughter Diamond got sick, my Abby got sick. Whew – it pretty much hit all of us except for baby Bayah. Thank goodness. Andrew and I went to Abby’s house on the coldest day of the winter so far, it was -17 out that morning, to watch the kiddos when she was sick. Iowa was the coldest area in the country that day and we broke a 100 year record with the cold. Normally I wouldn’t have stepped a foot out of the house that day but when your baby needs help and you can provide it – off you go no matter what! I hated Abby being sick but it was fun to watch Uncle Drew and Braxton have fun and get to cuddle and love on Bayah all day!
We are now all on the mend and ready to take on the new year! We’ve had bitterly cold weather and beautiful snow and a heat wave of 38 degrees today! My poor chickens are so glad to be out and about in the yard today. No eggs of course but that’s to be expected. Drew has been going stir crazy stuck in the house and then no recess at school due to the cold. Yesterday they had recess and he was actually tired and ready for bed last night! I’ve started a few projects around here and have plans to get a lot more done. I’ve been stitching and selling my cupboard tucks which has been so much fun. Joe went hunting over the weekend and had a great time. His nephew Mike came down and hunted and spent the night Friday night. That was a lot of fun. They hunted with our son-in-law Jeremy, Jeremy’s dad and Jeremy’s brother-in-law. Joe and Mike didn’t get deer but they had fun. That’s the main reason for hunting I think. To get out and spend the day walking the timbers and being together. A deer is great and I appreciate the meat too but I’m glad the guys get to do this together every year.
Then last night after work Joe went over to Dad and Mom’s and hunted. Still no deer but Mom fixed chili for supper and Drew and I went over for that. After supper we played games with Drew and dad gave me a box of goodies. He’s been doing this lately. Giving me things now and then that he knows I will treasure and love. Earlier he sent me home with his first toolbox. No tools of course – he still needs those and I sure don’t – but I love this tool box. It’s the one I remember him using when I was growing up. It’s beat up and rusty and chippy and perfect. I love it! I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my box of treasures yet. A few things I’ll display, the rest I’ll store away. And hopefully I’ll be able to keep Drew out of it as he loves to sort through boxes of anything!
Wow – the last four days went fast and boy am I glad for a day to chill at home. Subbing at the school on Thursday and Friday took a lot out of me. I enjoyed the first day but the second was exhausting. Nothing much different between the two days – just takes a lot out of me subbing as an Associate. I never know what classroom I’ll be in or what I’ll be doing and it’s different every time. This time I was with a child new to the school with a behavior disorder so it was a learning experience for me, for the child and for the teacher. And I get to go back this Thursday and Friday for the same child. The school is looking for a full time Associate but in the meantime they are taking turns with different Associates subbing. I had volunteered with the Color Run this Friday but agreed to work instead. I’m hoping I can still spend some time with Drew during the Color Run. Last Friday was Homecoming and I got to see Drew during the parade and the pep rally which was nice. Eric came home too for the weekend and for Homecoming. He requested meatloaf, potatoes and corn for supper for Friday night so that’s what we had. He’s a tad spoiled!
Saturday was spent with Abby and Braxton at the Kalona Fall Festival. It was lots of fun. We walked through the festival and the boys spent quite a bit of time playing in the corn area. That area is a favorite – kids love playing in shelled corn with buckets and shovels! After eating a lunch of homemade tacos and pie made by a Mennonite group we took the boys to the park and let them play. And then back to Abby’s house and more play time for the boys! It was a great day.
I had thought Sunday we would be staying home but Dad called and Joe went over there to help Dad start one of his tractors. Then Mom called and asked if Drew and I would want to come over for lunch so off we went. After that we headed home and spent the afternoon outside building a run for the chickens. I love having them free range but between them destroying my flower beds and the last few days deciding to cross the gravel road and wander in the neighbor’s pasture we decided we needed to pen them in. The neighbors don’t care if they wander over there but we don’t want them getting hit on the road. By the time we quit working on that it was getting late so we ran to town for supper at the Pizza Ranch. It had been months since we’d eaten there and it was a nice change of pace.
Today Drew and I aren’t feeling the best. I think I probably caught something from being at the school. That usually happens. And Drew has been fighting a cold. Today was a teacher in service day so no school so Drew got to sleep in and now he’s crashed on the couch watching cartoons. And I’m glad to have a day at home. No running anywhere, no plans. I’ll spend the day getting the house in order, working on laundry which hasn’t been touched for the past four days and chilling with Drew. A great way to start the week!
Saturday we had the privilege of celebrating my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie’s 50th wedding anniversary with them at their home. It was a small celebration – just family – and our family is small! It was such a fun day. The weather was beautiful so we spent the day outside under a shade tree. We wander around the farm and did a lot of chatting. It was wonderful to see my cousin Terri Jo and her kids as they live in Indiana and we rarely see them anymore. Fifty years is definitely something to celebrate and I hope we get to celebrate many more with these two wonderful people.
Is it possible to do too much camping? I’m beginning to wonder! After our nice long Labor Day trip and trying to get laundry caught up and the house put back together Abby asked us to go camping last weekend. So, we got home on Monday, ran errands out of town on Tuesday, spent Wednesday evening out at Belva Deer with dad and mom as they were camping and asked us out for supper and then loading the camper up Thursday and back out to Belva Deer we went. After all, when your daughter asks you to spend the weekend with them camping – you just can’t say no!
It turned out Jeremy’s family (Jeremy is our son-in-law) was having their annual family reunion at Belva Deer and the kids were debating whether to camp or not. So Abby asked us if we wanted to camp too and of course we said yes. Jeremy works until 6:30 most evenings and works every Saturday and they can’t have their camper at their house because of the rules there so they keep their camper at Jeremy’s folk’s house, so that makes it hard for them to get it ready. I told Abby not to worry about food – we took care of that for them and we tagged their spot so they didn’t have to worry about what time they pulled in and not being able to find a spot. We had a great time. Dad and Mom stayed for the weekend too and we just enjoyed spending time with everyone.
Then, once we got the camper home Sunday, Dad and Mom, Joe, Drew and I took a road trip to Pella. The only place Mom and Dad have ever camped is Belva Deer and they have wanted to try full hook up and have wanted to camp at Lake Red Rock in Pella. So, off we went to check out campgrounds and see which one they wanted to try. We have this weekend free but off we’ll be going the following weekend to Pella. I love camping in Pella. Joe and I were just there in August for our anniversary weekend. I’m looking forward to camping there with Dad and Mom. And fall camping is my absolute favorite. But, we have camped so much – it’s time for a break! Just to get caught up at home and to get the camper reorganized and just to simply be home! I’m hoping we can then have a couple weekends off and then maybe get in a weekend or two in in October. There’s nothing better than chilly mornings, crisp, comfortable days, then nice chilly evenings around the campground with the leaves turning and the smell of autumn. My all time favorite time of the year and my favorite time to spend outdoors. There’s nothing better!
And here it is, Wednesday already this week. The days are just flying by. Monday was spent getting caught up from the weekend. Yesterday I got caught up on watching Outlander. I’m addicted to the books and to the show and since the new season started Sunday I couldn’t watch the new episode until I had re-watched the first two seasons to get caught up. Joe doesn’t care for the show so I’ve been watching episodes during the day when I can but we’ve been so busy I wasn’t able to get them in until yesterday. Then I watched the first episode of the new season last night while Joe and Drew were out changing the oil in my van. I never thought I could get caught up in a series that’s based on time travel but oh my. The books have been a favorite of mine for years. I’ve read the series twice now and it takes me almost a year to get through them. Then when they decided to make the series I was skeptical. Usually if I love a book, I don’t care for it on the screen but not this time. I love the actors and the accents and the scenery and just everything about the show. I look forward to Sunday nights now for the next few weeks!
And today I started walking with a friend. I dropped Drew off at school and drove over to Mary’s and off we went. We walked four miles and boy was I hurting by the time we were done! I so need this. I need the exercise and I need the socialization. It’s just so easy for me to not be around people. I’m perfectly happy spending my days here at home. I’ve always been a homebody but when I was working I had to socialize. Now, I have to make myself go out and do things. Unless it’s family related I tend to isolate and just be home. And walking in town, it’s like being in a whole new world! I’m used to going outside and it just being me and my chickens! We walked and talked and I saw parts of town I haven’t seen for awhile and we stopped and chatted with a couple of Mary’s neighbors and petted their dogs and waved at all the cars that drove by. It was fun! I’m glad I don’t live in town. I wouldn’t want to have neighbors around me all the time. The noise and the cars and all that goes with living in town, it’s just not for me. But, I’m looking forward to walking in the mornings with Mary and maybe even socializing a little with the people we meet. It will be an adventure!
Wow, the weekend went fast. Saturday was spent at home just getting stuff done. Joe serviced Eric’s car and cleaned out the shop. I worked in the house. Drew spent the day helping his dad – I was told I wasn’t allowed outside! I love that he wants to spend so much time with his daddy! Then we ran out to Belva Deer for the evening and sat around the campfire with Dad and Mom as they had been camping most of the week. It was beautiful evening for sitting around the fire!
Sunday was a fun filled day. We had a picnic at Belva Deer with Dad and Mom and my sister and Abby and Jeremy and Braxton came too! (I forgot to take my camera and so didn’t get any pictures.) It rained, which we still need the rain badly, so nobody complained. We just ate our lunch under the awning and sat crowded together and chatted. It was fun! When the rain stopped Braxton, Drew and I went for a walk and left some painted rocks for others to find. It worked too – Dad walked up the bathroom and came back with one of our rocks. He didn’t realize what we were doing and thought Drew had dropped it! After everybody had left except us and Dad and Mom, Eric texted asking where we were. He and his friend Ally had decided to come home to do their laundry! So, he came out and spent some time with Grandpa and Grandma. It was great to see him! He seems to be adjusting well to college life. I asked Abby if she had been hearing from him and she said yes and that she thought he was doing great. I love that my kids keep in contact with each other like that. If only Aaron could have been there, the day would have been perfect.
Today it’s nice and quiet around here. Joe is gone to work and Drew is gone to school. I plan to work in Drew’s room a little bit. Go through some clothes and organize his drawers. Tomorrow will be spent with a friend. Then it will be time to work on getting the camper ready for our big Labor Day Weekend camping trip. I have lists to make, food to prepare and a camper to organize. We’re looking forward to the weekend and spending it with good friends we hardly ever get to see. It’s always a fun time!
No – I am not ready for Christmas yet! I am ready for fall. We’re having such beautiful fall like weather and it’s my favorite time of the year but as I was searching through some of my favorite cross stitch designer’s patterns this morning looking for patterns to make my annual Christmas ornaments for Drew and Braxton I was not having much luck. Then I decided to check out the Shepherd’s Bush site and see what they had. I found a free snowman pattern that is so cute and I can customize it with different colors and add their names. Perfect! But searching the Shepherd’s Bush site led to panic mode! Oh my goodness – here I’ve been stuck in a rut not having anything really to work on crafty wise in the evenings, just yesterday I was thinking about how I’ve not been in a rut like this in years, when all of a sudden it hit me. I have to stitch a Christmas stocking for baby girl. Maybe that explains the rut – I knew there was something I needed to be working on. How could I have not remembered this before now? When Braxton was born I made Shepherd’s Bush stockings for Jeremy, Abby, and Braxton. I picked Shepherd’s Bush for many reasons – they are beautiful, they all match, they come in a kit and specifically, there are so many of them that I knew if/as Jeremy and Abby added to their family, I could easily find a pattern to fit in with what I had already made for them. The panic part is due to the fact that these stockings are big and intricate and take time – lots and lots of time! So, this morning Drew and I picked a stocking, ordered it and now I will wait impatiently for everything to arrive – and I’ll have to break the news to Mom. She did all the sewing into stockings after I finished the cross stitch part last time. Hopefully she’ll feel up to the task again! In the meantime I should probably get started on the ornaments. With baby girl coming I’ll be making three this year instead of two!
After spending the day in Ottumwa shopping with Eric for college we made a spur of the moment decision to pick up supper in town and head out to Belva Deer and go for a hike. Drew had a free pizza from Casey’s he earned at school and we decided to use it tonight. It was a beautiful evening – cool and calm – perfect hiking weather!
And again, we had an unplanned camping weekend out to Belva Deer! Dad and Mom pulled out last Monday and Eric and Drew and I ran out there for supper on Tuesday night. They mentioned they would like to have us come out and join them so when Joe got home Thursday off we went! Eric came out Friday night for supper and a game or two of Bocce ball. It ended up being a little bit of a reunion of sorts then on Saturday as Mom’s two brothers and their wives and Dad’s twin sister and her husband came out for lunch and to visit through the afternoon. It’s always fun to visit with my wonderful and fun aunts and uncles and we don’t get to see them often enough. Drew made friends with the neighbor kids and had the best time. The weather was absolutely beautiful all weekend. Beautiful temps all day and perfect cool campfire weather at night. The only thing that could have made it better would have been rain. Fun times camping – again!
When we got the camper home today I spent the afternoon cleaning it, with a little “help” from Drew! We scrubbed down counters and sinks and toilet, dusted every surface, vacuumed the carpets and scrubbed the floors. I still have to wash the bedding and make the bed back up and we’ll be all ready for next weekend as we’re off on our annual Clear Lake trip. Fun times with friends and a car show to beat all car shows. 1,000 cars or more in a parade around beautiful Clear Lake on Friday night and then the show on Saturday in the middle of the town of Clear Lake which sits right on the water. We look forward to this every year – the car show is fun but camping with great friends we see rarely is such a treat! And this year Joe’s sister and brother-in-law are going to visit us and check out the car show on Saturday. We are really excited for the weekend!
I finished a project today that I have been working on for awhile. I gathered up recipe cards handwritten by family members and framed them in little vintage frames. After getting my cupboards painted I decided it was time to put everything together and hang them. So far I have a card from my mom, my mother-in-law, my Grandma Houseal and my Step-Grandma Houseal. My aunt is looking to see if she has one from Grandma Ward and I’ve asked her if I could get one with her handwriting too. I love decorating with anything family and what’s more family than handwritten recipe cards from your loved ones. I’m afraid recipe cards are becoming a thing of the past. The same with cookbooks. It’s so much easier to get on Pinterest, find a recipe and print it off. I find myself doing this all the time. But they just aren’t the same as a handwritten card. Now I have something to look at when I’m doing dishes that reminds me of the many wonderful meals I’ve had, cooked by the wonderful women that have been and/or still are in my life. Cherished memories for sure!